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Full text of "A letter to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of London: containing queries, doubts and difficulties, relative to a vernacular version of the Holy Scriptures. Being an appendix to A prospectus of a new translation of the Bible from a corrected text of the originals, &c"

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LETTER, &c. 


- W HEN I firft fat down to tranflate the Hebrew 
Scriptures, I knew I was undertaking a moft arduous tafk ; but, I 
confefs, I was not fufficiently aware of all the dilticulties that have 
fince occurred. If I had, I ihould then, perhaps, have prudently 
declined an enterprize, which I cannot, without pufiUanimity, now 

However, as new obflacles are daily prefenting themfelves, and 

doubts and perplexities feem to multiply in proportion as I proceed, 

o jj I have reduced a part of thefe into a fet of Queries, which I beg 

leave to lay before your Lordfliip, as the perfon in the kingdom the 

moft likely to give me a fatisfadory folution of them. 

B The 


[ 2 ] 

The firft queftion that naturally offers is, how far the ftlle and 
phrafeology of our laft Englifh Verfion ought to be adopted or re- 
jefted, in a new tranflatlon ? But to form a juft idea of this general 
queftion, it will be proper to divide it into different heads. 

In the firft place, then, I think it will be by all agreed, that fuch 
fili"-le words or whole phrafes, in the old verfion, as are become en- 
tirely obfolete, or are of an ambiguous meaning, or border on 
plebeian tritenefs, ought, by a new tranflator, to be rejeded ; and 
others fubftituted in their place, more agreeable to the prefent ufage, 
lefs liable to mifconftrudion, and further removed from vulgarity. 
But is the fame liberty to be taken with other words and phrafes, 
which, though obfolete in common ufe, are ftill intelligible to one 
acquainted with the Scripture ftile, and have in reality nothing in 
them to debafe its dignity ? 

For example, would you, with fome faftldious moderns, reject 
fuch words as ambuJJmmit, heritage, 7neet, ivroth, banquet, banner^ 
bereave, bewail, potirtray, difcornfit, marvel, obeifance, progenitors, and a 
number of fimilar terms throughout the Bible ? Or would you oc- 
cafionally ufe them for the fake of variety, energy, or euphony ? For 
my part I am inclined to think, and have elfewhere hinted, that we 
Ihould not only retain fuch old words as are ftill, though rarely ufed ; 
but even revive many that have gradually gone into dilufe j if they 
be equally analogical, and at the fame time more fignificant and 
hai-monious than thofe that cuftom has introduced In their room. 

4 With 

[ 3 ] 

With regard to whole phrafes, it Is much harder to form a decided 
opinion. They are generally Hebraifms, which have been gradually 
incorporated into our language by the different txanflators of the 
Bible, from a laudable defign of reprefenting, as exadtly as poflible, 
the air of the originals ; and, though many of them are extremely 
abhorrent from the Englifh idiom, yet long cuftom and the fanAion 
of religion have made them familiar to our ear ; however indi{lin£tly 
they may be feized by our underftanding — Are fuch to be retained 
by a new tranflator ? or mollified and modernized into equivalent 
terms ? 

It will pofTibly be faid : " A diftindlion fhould be made. Some 
*' Hebraifms are fp contrary to our modes of phrafing, that they 
*' cannot be retained without great obfcurity ; whilfl others, though 
*' fomewhat uncouth, are yet intelligible, or may be eafily made fo 
" by a note. The latter fhould, the former fliould not be adopted 
*' in a vernacular tranflation." 

But this feems, by far, too vague an anfwer. What may appear 
fufficiently clear to one, may feem obfcure to another ; and in a 
book, that is read by all, it is not enough that the phrafe be intelli- 
gible to a few perfons only ; it fliould be as generally fo as poffible. 
It is granted by the greatefl flicklers for verbal tranflation, that the 
phrafeology of the original ought to be abandoned for abfolutc 
perfpicuity : why not, then, for a greater degree of it ? efpecially 
where there is no danger of miflaking the meaning by fuch a 

licence This deferv'^es a more attentive confideration. 

B 2 T had 

[ 4 ] 

I had faid in my Prospectus, that there is, in our laft national 
Verfion, a blameable want of uniformity in the mode of tranflating. 
It has been hinted to me, that I ought to have produced inftances, 
which I now do the more willingly, becaufe it gives me an opportu- 
nity of difcufling the queftion under confideration, and others 
conneded with it. 

When I rank, among the faults of a tranflation, a want of uni- 
formity in the mode of rendering, I do not mean that a tranflator is 
never to diverfify his ftile, or vary his expreflions. The contrary 
I have laid down as one of the qualities of a good tranflation. But 
ftill, that diverfity fhould be regulated by fome uniform and confiftent 
principle, from which he fliould never deviate, without the moft 
cogent reafons. 

There are many words, as well as fentences, in the Bible, which 
admit, and often require a different renHprJng, bctdufe they have a 
different meaning in the original. But there are, likewife, many 
words and fentences, that either always, or at leaft in fimilar cir- 
cumflances, have the fame precife meaning; and, confequently, 
fhould always be rendered in the fame, or nearly the fame terms ; 
and this only is the uniformity which I contend for. I will now 
give examples, both of words and fentences, in which this uniformity 
has not been obferved by our laft tranflators. 

Firft, of words And, here, I make not much account of fuch 

variations as may poflfibly be deemed fynonimous. He would be a 


[ 5 ] 

fuperclllous crltlck, I think, who fliould blame our tranflators for 
ufing indifcriminately branch or bough ; fountain or fprlng ; bird or 
fowl ; faint or weary ; d%velling-place or habitation ; wrathful or furi- 
ous ; pot^ pan or cauldron ; /£■«/, tabernacle or pavilion ; aWi?, ^'^//l?y or 
<5?^/^ ; target, fhield or buckler j ;«//r^, Zioo^ or diadem ; w^«/, maiden^ 
damfel or young-woman ; to beat-down, break-down, throw-down, de- 
fray or overthrow; to pluck-up, pluck-out, root-up or root-out', to 
•zer^//, to ;;ji5«r« or /o lament, &c. Although, perhaps, ftridly fpeak- 
Ing, it would be better to make fome appropriate diftindion in the 
ufe of almoft every one of thefe and fuch terms.* But when we 
find 7^j^ rendered in one place a lintel, in another a po/l ; nHIN now 
a locuf, and now a grafs-hopper ; Jl^Jf 7 wormwood and hemlock j li'lllSp 


* The copioufnefs of a language is fomewhat like a fuperabundance of wealth ; 
there are few who know how to make a good ufe of either ; and he only who is bleft 
with fuperlative tafte and judgment will be kept, iu botk cafec, from manifold abufes^ 
To fuch a degree has the Lexicon of our language been gradually enriched, that it is 
often more difficult to feleiSl terms, than to find them ; and a proper choice is one of 
the principal charafters of good writing, For this the Greek authors are peciiliarlyt 
remarkable. Although the ftorehoufe from which they drew was inexhauftible, yet 
they feldom drew from it at random. Almoft every term, in their beft compofitions, 
has a difcriminating charafter, which is very rarely confounded with any other, how- 
ever approximating. But, in Greece, no one wrote, who had not made a long and 
laborious ftudy of the Greek tongue ; whereas, in England, almoft every one is a 
writer ; and almoft every one gives a currency to fome new impropriety. Since your 
Lordfliip's little book appeared,, and fince Johnfon wrote his DiiStionary, grammatical 
precifion has been more generally aimed at, than before ; but not much attention^ I 
fear, has been given to the fort of propriety, of which I am fpeaking; although that, 
with a little more variety and harmony in the arrangement of fentencef, and a more ra- 
tional application of our indeclinable particles, is all that our language feems to want 
of the perfedion, of which it is fufceptible. 

[ 6.] 

nettles and thorns; ll*K") hemlock and gall'^ HJ^'' an cw/ and an ofirich; 
l£t{£f //«^« and T?/^ ; JiNp the cormorant and the felican ; 7Kti^ /-»''// and 
the grave, &c. we cannot poffibly but difapprove of fuch incon- 
gruity in rendering ; and point it out as a fault to be fludioufly 
guarded againft by every tranflator. 

All this appears to be indifputable. But there are words, in the 

rendering of which, our tranflators took a latitude, which, though 

it is by no means fo exceptionable as the former, feems yet to have 

a certain want of uniformity in it, that in fome meafure mifrepre- 

fents the text ; and may a<5lually miflead the reader. For what reader 

would imagine that Azw, Jlatute^ decree^ ordinance were all terms fo 

perfectly fynonimous, as to be exprefled by one Hebrew word ? Yet 

pn is found rendered by all thofe terms. A coat of mall ^ a habergeon^ 

a breajl-plate and a brigandhie all imply a piece of defenfive armour 

of much the fame nature i yet I hardly think that any one would 

expert to fee them all reprefented in the Original by the fmgle word 

]'^nti^. Will it appear any more likely that 12iD or miiD is tranf- 

lated with equal propriety, a fort^ a hold^ a Jlrong hold^ a cajlle^ a 

bulwark, a munition ? The three firft are more general terms, and 

may denote any Jlrong place, whether fo by nature or art ; but the 

three laft give us the idea of manual fortification. In all fuch cafes 

it would, in my apprehenfion, be more proper to ftick to one term, 

which term fliould be the mofl diftindive and expreffive that could 

be found. 


-[ 7 ] 

We fhould not, perhaps, even approve of tranflating the fame 
Hebrew vp^ords by different Englifh ones, though of nearly the fame 
import ; when thefe, in common acceptation, have at leaft a fenfible 
difference of meaning in magnitude, intenfity, degree or relation. 
Can dijloody a river, and a brook be equally proper renderings of HK'' ? 
or a town and a village of n!2 ? vejfels, furniture^ Ji^ff^i injlruments, 
nveaponSf armour, artillery of w^ ?* a caftle and a palace of T'tO ? 
coal and hot coal of ^PI^ ? concubine and paramour of l£^J}7£3 ? nephew 
and grand/on of ^DJ ? inchanter^ obfervers of times and footh-fayers 
of p")^ ? Thofe who wifh to fee more of this diverfity, may con- 
fult Taylor's Concordance under the words VP)^. D?^. HD. nJ9. 
^ip- Dip- Nnp. niti^. D1''- *]D^ li'SJ. |n^ 

Nay further, I am not fure but we fhould uniformly tranflate the 
fame Hebrew worr^ by the fame Englifh word ; unlefs the former 
have a multifarious meaning; or perfpicuity or embellifhment re- 
quire to vary the latter. If tabret be a good rendering of *in why 
tranflate it alfo timbrel? What need is there for tranflating HJ^'^D in 
one place the Pleiades, and in another the Jeven Jlars ? Why is 
D'^Dti^ fometimes rendered heaven, fometimes the heaven, fome- 

* To {hew how little attentive our tranflators were to uniformity in rendering the 
fame word even in the very fame conftruftion and fenfe, I fhall here give a remarkable 
inftance. Exod. xxx. ver. 27, 28. We have the word yi,^ three times tranflated 
•* his veffels:" yet in the very next chapter, ver. 8, 9. we find the fame word, not 
only in the fame conftruftion, but relatively to the fame things, rendered three times 
" his furniture." One can hardly fuppofc that thcfc tv\'o chapters were tranflated 
by the fame perfon. 


[ 8 ] 

times ihe heavens^ and fometimes the air? Why C^IJ) — nations^ 
gentiles and heathen? Why Hr^K a vtaiJ, a bond-ijuonian, a botKH-viaid.^ a 
hand-maid^ ■Si maid-Jcrvanl? ^^hy SVy2r\ s. pattern, Si figure, a. like- 
9iefs^ a form, a fiinilitude ? Why >/1J /i? <//>, /o perijh, to give and 
j'/V/c/ wj> /y^e? ^/'2/^ .? Why T\'\l^r\ to befiknt, to keepjiknce, to /6o/J owf'i 
peac£, to Zi^A/ &«t''j tongue? Any of thefe refpedlive terms, well- 
chofen at firft, would furely be more uniform, and for the moft part 
more proper. 

What has been faid with regard to the inconfiftency ajul incon- 
gruity of rendering the fame Hebrew word, in the fame circum- 
flances, by different vernacular terms ; is equally applicable to the ren- 
dering of different Hebrew words by the fame term. If I have once, 
ufed the word tabernacle to exprefs pli^D and tent to exprefs /HK; 
I will uniformly do fo throughout — nor will I confound either with 
m. It is hardly poffible that ^DN*- Ttn. t^nn- *^-)0- T^^h- and 
77ti^ can all be equally well tranflated by one word " prey." In 
fad, mod of the Hebrew terms have peculiar ideas annexed to 
them, that require a diverfity in rendering them.* 

It often happens, indeed, that this diverfity cannot be attained, 
becaufe the language into which we tranflate has not fuch a number 

* The waiit of this diftinftion has made our tranflators put in the mouth of Cain, 
•vshat he could not fay, nor mean — " Behold thou driveft me this day from the face of 
the earth !" Q^ Whither then was he driven ? Was not the land of Nod on the face 
of the earth ? The word is HDHK not yiK and means the fpot he was then on j " ranii 
TJi yt^, as S. Chryfoftomc well expreflesit. 


T 9 1 

of difcrlminating terms as would be neceflary to exprefs it (not to 
mention that the etymon of the original word is often dubious, and 
the diftindion fometimes, perhaps, imaginary) ; but then as far as 
its terms go, they are to be employed, and appropriated, as nearly 
as poffible, to the ideas meant to be conveyed by them. See fome 
very fenfible obfervations on this fubjed in Pilkington's Remarks, 
Sed. XXV, 

Diverfity in rendering whole fentences, or parts of fentences, is 
not lefs common with our tranflators, than in rendering fmgle words; 
and is frequently lefs excufable. This is, no doubt, that " want of 
" identity of phrafmg" which the prefacers, in fome fort, apologize 
for ; and which is chiefly obfervable in their tranflation of Hebraifms; 
which are the principal objed of our prefent difcuflion. 

Now in rendering thefe, they feem to have been guided by no 
uniform principle, nor even by any rules of grammatical analogy : 
for they have not only obferved no uniformity in rendering fimilar 
fentences, but have often admitted a ftrange variety in rendering the 
lame fentences. 'To lift up one's feet for " to remove'' is certainly not 
a more harlh idiotifm than to lift up one's eyes for " to look up" Nay 
the word ///?, in ftrid propriety, is more literally applicable to the 
feet than to the eyes : yet our tranflators every where retain the laft 
Hebraifm ; never the firft. I am aware it will be fald, that the firfl 
feems more uncouth to our ears than the laft; but I am perfuaded it 
was not more uncouth, when the laft was firft adopted ; and that if 

C they 

[ lo ] 

they had alfo adopted the tiiH, it would now be as familiar to us as 
the other. "■•■ But the Latin vcrfion feems to have determined them ; 
which has eievavli ocu/cs, but not elcvavit pedes. Yet the Greek has re- 
tained the laft Hebraifm : GenellS xxix. I. Yuxt i^atxg lu-;<^ mg Trolug. 

In like manner, " to deliver one's felf from the eyes of another" 
for " to efcape from one," is not more abhorrent from our idiom 
than " to hide one's eyes from another" for " to connive at himv"^ 
yet in the former cafe, our tranflators rejected the Hebraifm. 
1 Sam. XX. 6. but retained it in the latter. Levit. xx. 4. 

To do what is good in one's eyes, is a Hebraifm which our tranf- 
lators have generally rendered by, doing what pleafeth or Uketh one. 
Thus Gen. xvi. 6. " Behold thy maid is in thy hand ; do to her 
" as it pleafeth thee." And Eflher viii. 8. " Write ye alfo to the 
** Jews, as it liketh you." But in n pHrafo e.-sa-aiy fimilar, Jud. 
xvii. 6. they tranflate, " Every one did that which was right in 
*< his own eyes." Again, Gen. xll. 37. " And the thing was good 
" in the eyes of Pharoah." But Num. xi. 10. they have not tranf- 
lated " It was alfo evil in the eyes of Mofes," but " Mofes was alfo 
'-*■ difpleafed." 

* It is obfervable that the moft of our former tranflators retained the Hebraifm : 
" Jacob lyfte up hys fete and wente, &c." Tyndal — And fo Matthews, Cranmer— 
Bifh. Gen. and even Purver. Luther too has " her hub Jacob feine fuefie aufP'— 
And the Dutch " hief Jacob fijnc voeten op." Diodati, with his ufual elegance, gave 
the phrafe another term, but ftill renders the word ^y) by feet " Se mejfe in (amino a 
" piedi." The Genevans tranflated as we do. " Se mil en chemin," 

a. But 

[ II ] 

But there are no phrafes, ia the rendering of which they have 
Ihewn more variety than in thofe of which the words p and ti^i^ 
make a part. The firft of thefe, which primarily fignifies a7o«, and 
fecondarily a defcendant of any kind ; has, in the oriental dialedts, 
a much wider acceptation ; and is applied not only to the offspring 
of the brute creation, but alfo to produdlions of every fort ; and 
what is ftill more catachreftlcal, even to confequential or concomitant 
relations : So that an arrow is called the fan of the bow ; the morning 
Jiar^ the/on of the morning ; threfoed-out corn^ the fon of the floor \ and 
anointed perfonSy the fons of oil. 

Now our tranflators have, in rendering fuch phrafes, for the 
moft part foftened the Hebraifnij but after no uniform manner. 
So7is of Belial 7^^72 *^'S2. is furely not more intelligible to an Englifli 
reader than Som of oil\ and much lefs fo than Sons of valour^ fons of 
righteoufnefy fotn nf iniquity ; yet, while they retain the firfl: Hebraifra 
with all its original harfhnefs, and partly in its orlghial form • * 
they mollify the three laft into ralicmi men, righteous men, wicked 

* Even here they are not confiftent. For if once they admitted the word Bilial^ they 
ihould have retained it throughout ; and faid a thing of Bdial^ a heart ofBcliaL, a witnefs 
of Belial^ the foods of Belial: which, however, they render an evil difcafe, a wicked 
hearty an ungodly witnefs, the floods of ungodlinefs. Nay they have, once or twice, tranf- 
lated bvh"^ li^''^ ^'^^ byVa D"W o %uicked man. At any rate, if fuch phrafes were not 
good Enghfli in the Old Teftament ; how came they to adopt them in the New ? For 
there wc meet with " The child of hell, tlie children of light, the children of wrath, the 
*' ion of perdition, &c." 

C 2 TJk 

[ I^ I 

The hme inconfulency holds with regard toti^'^K in a umllaroon-- 
flrudlion. If they could, without hurting the Englifh idiom, trani> 
late a man of war ^ a man of underjland'mg^ a man of forrows^ a man cf 
frfe^ a tnan of wicked devices^ the man of thy right hand', why not 
alfo a man of peace, a man of truth, a man of violence^ a man of ini- 
quity ? 

Not only in fimilar phrafes, did our tranflators break the rules of 
imiformity ; they often violated them in rendering the fame phrafe, 
and that, fometimes, in the fame chapter. " How old art thou ?" 
fays Pharoah to Jacob, Gen. xlvii. 8. inftead of " How many arc 
" the days of thy years ?" But in Jacob's anfwer, verfe 9. " The 
" days of the years of my pilgrimage are &c." In ver. 28; 
they again drop the Hebraifm, and tranflate " fo the whole age of 
** Jacob ;" for " all the' days of the years of Jacob." 

To he in one's hand^ is a Hebraifm that otten fignifies to be in ones 
power, and fo our tranflators rendered it, Job i. 12. " All that he 
" hath is in thy power :" but Gen. xvi. 6. they retain the Hebraifm, 
*' Behold thy maid is in thy hand," 

To lift up ones hand is tofwear ; and fo we find it rendered, ExoA 
vi. 8. " Which I did fwear to give." Num. xiv. 30. " Which I 
" fware to make you dwell therein." Nehem. ix. 15. " Which 
" thou hadft fworn to give them." But Gen. xiv. 22. " I have 
^' lift up my hand to the Lord" — and Deuter. xxxii. 40. " I lift 

« up 

[ 13 ] 

" up my hand to Heaven." And Ezek. xx. 5. " In the day when 
*' I chofe Ifrael, and Ufted up mine hand unto the feed of the houfe 
*' of Jacob." Many more fuch inftaaces may be found under the 
word '^\ * 

The fame variety appears in the rendering ofTlf^rOD ti'''K a man 
of ijcar. Thus Exod. xv. 3. " The Lord is a man of war:" but 
Pfalm xxiv. 8. " The Lord mighty in battle." Again, Num. 
xxxl. 49. " Thy fen^ants have taken the fum of the men of war:" 
but in the fame chapter, ver. 27. " Them that took the war upon 
*' them." The LXX. generally rendered the words by ttoAs/x/jt;}? j 
and our tranflators have ufed warrior and warriors In the fame fenfe, 
on fimilar occafions. i Kings xii. 21. " Fourfcore thoufand men 
" which were warriors" T\f^rni^XW^ ', which 2 Chron. xxvi. 11. 
they render " fighting men." 

*' To be wife or right in one's own eyes," is a Hebraifm perfedly 
" intelligible in any other language, and is in ours not unfrequently 
ufed in common fpeech. Yet, even in rendering this phrafe, our 
tranflators varied. Thus Prov. xiii. 7. " Be not wife in thine own 
" eyes." Prov. xii. 15. " The way of a fool is right in his own 
" eyes." But Prov. xxvi. 5. " Anfwer not a fool according to his folly, 
" left he be wife in his own conceit." And xxvlii. 11. " The rich 
" man is wife in his own conceit." 

* What makes a deviation from the Hebraifm here more neceflary is, becaufe " to lift 
« up one's hand" fignifies alfo to rebels and fometimcs to chajiife, 


[ H 1 

InExod. Iv. 15. they tranflate ^^B2 D'^min nt^nDt^l, " Thou 
" llialt put Avords In his mouth." But Ezra viii. 17. they render 
"IDT*? D**")!"! DTT'Sl rT^Dli^KI, " I told them what they flioukl 
" fay." Should not the Hebraifm have been retamed in both places j 
or in neither ? 

In Numb. viii. 7. nnt:^! bj h)^ n;rjl n^D;^n arc rendered, 
equivalently " Let them ihave all their flefh ;" but Ezek. v. i. the 
Hebraifm is retained ; " Let a razor pafs on thy head." 

In fine, our tranflators appear to have, not feldom, changed the 
Hebraifm, without neceffity, and when it is equally plain, and as 
good Englifh as the fubftituted phrafe. *' Come ye after me" is as 
intelligible as " follow me" — " To cut off the ends or extremities of a 
" country" is as intelligible, and it fhould feem lefs vulgar than " to 
" cut a country fhort." Sec -z Kings vi. 19, and x. 23. So Prov. 
iv. 26. " Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be 
«* eftablifhed." The Hebraifm of the laft part of this fentence, " and 
" all thy ways fhall be ordered aright," which is the marginal ren- 
dering, is no lefs clear and exprellive than what has been adopted in 
its ftead. Again, Prov. vi. 16. " Six /hifigs doth the Lord hate; yea, 
" feven are an abomination to him." I miftake if it would not 
have been better to retain the Hebraifm ; " Yea, feven are the 
*' abomination of his foul." Prov. xxvi. 20. the Hebrew has, 
" Without wood the fire goeth out," which our tranflators, with the 


[ ^5 ] 

help of Italics, paraphrafe thus : " Where no wood ?V, there the fire 
" goeth out," which, compared with the other, appears languid and 
drawling. Pfalm xci, 16. " With long life will I fatisfy him." 
The Hebraifm, " with length of days, &c," feems not only as clear, 
but more energetic and poetical. 

Enough has been {liid to fhew, that our tranflators were not guided 
by any uniform rule in rendering the Hebraifms of the Bible. — But 
are there then no rules to be guided by ? No fixt and certain boun- 
daries to be prefcribed to a tranflator ? Or may he, at random and 
in an arbitrary manner, either follow the Hebraifm, or abandon it ? I 
fcarcely think, that this will be allowed by any rational Philologift. 
I will, therefore, venture to lay down fome general Canons, by 
which I myfelf have been direded ; and of which I wifli to obtain 
your Lordihip's and the public's approbation. 


All Hebraifms that are fufficiently clear to exclude ambiguity ; and 
either were from the beginning, or are become by long ufage, in- 
telligible to every clafs of readers ; and, at the fame time, have 
nothing in them that offends againft the laws of grammar and good 
writing, fhould univerfally be retained : but thofe that are obfcure, 
equivocal, uncouth and ungrammatical fhould as univerfally be 



[ I^ ] 


In rendering the poetical and fentential parts of Scripture, bolder 
Hebraifms are allowable, than in the hiftorical and legiflative parts. 


Whatever Hebraifm has been once adopted, or Angllcifm fubfli- 
tuted, fhould, in the fame fort of ftile, and in circumftances exadly 
fimilar, be uniformly and univerfally retained. 

As to the particular application of thefe canons. It muft, I fear, 
be left to the judgment and tafle of the tranflator. For whatever 
lights he may borrow from the obfervations of others, ftill it muft 
ultimately reft with himfelf, how far he is to be directed by them j 
or on what occafions he is to prefer them to his own. 

Another queftion, ftarting out of the former, Is; Should the 
Hebraifms, that are not admitted intn the text, be retained, at leaft, 
in the margin ? 

Bifliop Newcome is decidedly of opinion that they fhould ; and 
has, accordingly, crowded the margin of his Verfion of the minor 
Prophets with more Hebraifms than are even in our common 
tranflation. His reafon is : " That the genius of the original 
" language will, by that means, be fhewn ; and the reader unfkilled 
" in them will be beft enabled to interpret for himfelf." Yoiu: 
Lordihip feems to be of a different opinion, if we may judge 


[ 17 ] 

from your Ifalah ; and I find that many learned perfons, whom I 
have occafionally confulted on the point, agree with you. 

Indeed, I can fee little advantage, that either the learned or un- 
learned can derive from fuch marginal renderings. Thofe who are 
Ikilled In the languages have no need of them ; and thofe who are 
unfkilled can only view them as fo many ftrange modes of ex- 
preflion ; which muft give them no favourable idea of the oriental 
ftile. This, I know it from experience, is the idea which the 
common people entertain of them. They look upon them as fo 
many obftacles on the way fide, that retard their journey; and they 
generally prefer Bibles that have them not. To what purpofe then 
perplex them with fo unneceffary an adjuatn: ; which, at every 
other verfe, draws their attention from a clear Text to an obfcure 
Comment ? For in that light every thing in the margin is by them 

The fole clafs of readers, to whom they can be of any fervice, is 
that of Biblical Students, who wifh to make the Englifh tranflation 
a fort of guide to the grammatical knowledge of the originals, v/ith- 
out the trouble of learning Hebrew Grammar. But thefe, I pre- 
fume, are few in number, and have, befides, if they underftand 
Latin, a much better dire£lor in Arias Montanus. 

There are only two cafes, in which I would admit marginal ren- 
derings. The firft is, when the tranflator doubts v*-hether he have 
given the true meaning of the original in the text. Then he is not 

D only 

[ i8 ] 

only lufficiently authorized, but obliged, I think, in juftice, to give 
either a different Englifh rendering of equal probability, or a literal 
verfion of the Hebraifm. The fecond is, when the meaning or 
force of the text cannot well be perceived without the interpretation 
of fome proper name or emblematical term ; in which cafe, if the 
Englifh interpretation be admitted into the text, the Hebrew word 
Ihould be referred to in the margin ; and fo vice verfa. Though 
perhaps it would be ftill better to include the rejeded term in a 
parenthefis, immediately after the admitted one. 

I come now to another queftion. Befide fuch idiotifms as I have 
already mentioned, there is in every language a number of expletive 
and redundant words, which originating in colloquial dialed, no 
where grammatical, too often retain their place in the moft refined 
and cultivated languages ; the firfl writers not daring to lay them 
afide, and their example giving tkem a fanaion among thofe who 
write after them. How many fuch are there not in Englifh, which 
we have not yet had the courage to explode ? 

In tranflating a Greek or Latin work into any modern language, 
or a work of one modern language into another, we never think it 
neceffary to exprefs thofe idiomatical redundancies; nay, for the 
honour of our author, we avoid exprefling them as much as poffible. 
But a different procedure has generally been obferved with regard to the 
Hebrew Scriptures. Not only to deviate from their meaning ; but, 
likewife, from their form, conftrudion, anomalies, tautologies, ellip- 


[ »9 ] 

fifes, pleonafms, enallages, hypallages — nay, from the very blunders 
of their various tranfcribers, was long accounted a kind of auda- 
cious facrilege. 

Hence, no doubt, it is that fo many of them have been retained 
in moft modern tranllations ; in dlredl oppofition to grammar and 
logic ; and often to the great detriment of the text, and obfcurity 
of the verfion. This unjuft and ill-grounded prejudice is, among 
the learned, no more a predominant one : and the tranflator of the 
Bible, if he be but a faithful intei-preter, may now, without the im- 
putation of impiety, follow that mode of tranflation which he moft 
approves of; and which is the moft likely to convey to the reader 
the genuine fpirit, not the bare and barren letter, of his originals. 

Under the fhelter of this privilege, may I here prefume to point 
out fuch Hebrew expletives and pleonafms, as I think may be, with 
advantage, fupprefled in an Engllfh tranflation. 

In the firft place, the copulative 1 which admits, and has in 

every tranflation received, a great number of various acceptations *, 

might frequently with great propriety be omitted altogether ; and 

has often been omitted by the beft interpreters, both ancient and 


D 2 I would 

* It is indeed the general linlc of fentences ; and ferves not only for all thofe parti- 
cles which we call conjunilicns ; but alfo for many adverbs and prepofitions, and 
even pronouns. Noldius gives it above feventy different meanings : but his diftinc- 
tions are often nice ; and I think they are all reducible to the following thirty : y/na', 
(!>■, «»r, «(j_y, with, fo, alfo, thus, if, although, btcaufc, that, for, but, yet, fiiice, indeed, 


[ ^o ] 

1 would, alfo, extend tliis licence to the fame letter in combination 
with i,-)^ ; though here again I have the misfortune to have the 
whole weight of Bifhop Newcome's authority in the oppofite fcale. 

who, ivhai, thin, now, afterwards, again, whilji, meanwhile, therefore, wherefore, namely, 
neverthelefs, moreover. Of thefe the moft generally ufcd, and perhaps the only necef- 
fary, are and, again, when, for, hut, that, if, although, with. This lafl: is, in realit)-, 
no lefs a copulative than and; and a more general ufe of it would give perfpicuity, 
energy and precifion to many paffages of Holy Writ, which from the conftant ufe of 
and and and, are amphibologou?, languid, indifcriminate and ungrammatical. We 
have a remarkable inftance in the three firft verfes of Genefis. In thefe, three diftin£t 
ideas are prefcnted The original creation of our material world — its chaotic pri- 
mordial ftate — and the important change that took place at the period of the fix days 
creation. It is, moreover, evident from the form and arrangement of the Hebrew 
words, that fuch a diflinftion was meant by the writer. For "JC^H being without a 
verb, and mi being joined to a participle, are naturally and ftriftly connefled with 
what immediately goes before ; but with what follows only by contraft. It is there- 
fore impoflible that the 1 can be equally well rendered by " and," through the whole 
of the three verfes. Let us fee : " In the beginning God created the Heavens and the 
" earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darknefs was upon the face 
" of the deep, and the fpirit of God moved upon the face nf the vratcis: and God faid, 
" Let there be light, and there was light." How heavy, how monotonous, how like 
to the tale of a peafent is this narrative ! But to do juftice to the author of the Penta- 
teuch, who, as Longinus fays, was certainly no mean writer, let us combine the above 
pafTage as fenfe and conftruftion point out ; and the three forementioned diftind ideas 
will immediately appear confpicuous. In the beginning God created (or had created) 
the Heavens and the earth. The earth was yet a difmal wafte, with darknefs on 
the face of the deep ; and a mighty wind (fee p. 49,) moving upon the furface of 
the waters: when God faid, " Let there be light ;" and light there was. Here 
there are only two common variations in rendering, and no need of an italic fupple- 
mcnt to conneft the fcnfe ; and yet — But I fliall leave the intelligent reader to make 
the comparifon of thefe two modes of tranflating ; and only obferve that the firft varia- 
tion of the copulative is juftified by the Greek tranflation, and by the Vulgate i oi yv 
—Terra autem : and that the connedlion of DTlvK HIT with what precedes is 
implied by their employing the imperfed time iTnfifiro—firchtia; 


[ 21 ] 

He thinks your Lordflilp's tranflation of Ifaiah xxxvili. i. defeftive; 

becaufe you have omitted " Now it came to pafs." But if one were 

to afk his Lordihip, whether he think that the Prophet, if he had 

written in Englifh, would have expreffed himfelf in that manner ? 

I am perfuaded he would anfwer in the negative. If fo, it is then 

evidently a Hebrew pleonafm, that fliould not be rendered in Englifli. 

At any rate, it fliould not be rendered, " Now it came to pafs," 

which never could have entered into the head of an Enelilh tranfla- 

tor, but for the Greek (yersTo and the 'Ls.lm faSliim cji. If it were 

at all to be tranflated, in the paflage above mentioned and other 

fimilar pafTages, why not " It was (or it happened) in the four- 

" teenth year of King Hezekiah, that &c"." 

With regard to the word noxS for the omiflion of which your 
Lordfhip is alfo blamed, in the fame paflage (Pref. to the Minor Pro- 
phets, p. xix.) I think it may be fomctimcc tranflated with pro- 
priety ; and fometimes left untranflated. When the word "i^*] pre- 
cedes, I would for the mofl: part tranflate it ; but when it is pre- 
ceded by "1t2K I would not tranflate it ; unlefs that 1,t:K could be 
conveniently rendered ^o^a-, and not /aid* There is only one cafe 
that, to me, prefents a difiiculty. It is, when IDN'b follows a mef- 


* The fecond 13N7 was fometimes negledled even by the Oriental tranflators, 
though, in their dialects, it was idiomatical. Thus Syriac, Jofliua i. i. renders the 
Hcbr. ItSN*? rnn"' ICN"'! by only t<l")0 lOK i and fo in other places— The 


[ 22 ] 

fage. " It was told him, faying — word was brought to hini,y^;«§-." 
Here the rules of Englifli Grammar are manifeftly violated ; and 
yet I cannot fee how they can be adhered to, without deviating 
from the ftile and manner of the originals, and almoft always dimi- 
nifhing their fimplicity. Should we, for the fake of Grammar, 
even at thefe rifks, adopt the indirect mode of expreffing the mef- 
fage, inftead of the diredl ? Or fhould we fay, " This word, this 
" meifage was brought to David ?" Or, in fine, fliould we retain the 
prefent verfion, ungrammatical as it is, as being the leaft of the three 
evils ? 

The words "tb. "ip. "h. and their refpedive plurals are alfo mere 
expletives, that may be frequently omitted in a tranflation, to which 
they are not only not neceffary, but often give a vulgar air. 
" Build me an altar — Get thee up — Take to thee a wife — Come 
" curfe me Jacob — Aflemble me the men of Judah — Take thou 
" alfo unto thee — Jacob took to him rods of green poplar." In 
thefe and all fuch phrafes the pronoun, it fhould feem, would be 
better omitted. Nay, our tranflators themfelves have fometimes 

Greeks and Jerom made the repetition lefs difgufting by varying their words — Hire, 
^iyu, — locutus g/?, dicens. In which they have been generally imitated by modern 
tranflators : and this accords perfectly with the exceptional diftinftion I have made ; 
for "he fpoke, faying ;" or " he fpoke, and faid" has no air of tautology any more 
than "10N7 "1^1 — It is remarkable that, although this phrafe is frequent in the 
Hebrew writings, we never find 12*17 ■^Q^?• 


[ 23 ] 

omitted it, as Ezek. xii. 5. " Dig thou" for "dig thou thee;" 
and verfe 7. " I digged" inflead of " I digged me." * 

The perfonal pronouns Kin and ii'>n feem redundant in fuch 
phrafes as thefe : " The woman, whom thou gaveft to be with me, 

*^Jbe gave me of the tree And Debora, a Prophetefs, the wife 

" of Lapidoth, J/:e judged Ifrael at that time — ^Now Hannah, J/je 

" fpoke in her heart But your little ones, which ye faid fhould 

" be a prey, t/jem will I bring in Your carcafles, ihey (hall fall 

*' in this wildernefs." I am well aware that this has been called an 
emphatical mode of expreffion ; and, in fome inftances, accounted a 
particular beauty ; as when the people exclaim, i Kings xviii. 39. 
" The Lord, he is the God ; The Lord, he is the God." Be it fo ; 
yet, even here it has all the air of vulgar tautology ; and brings to 
one's mind the old fong : " Bell, JJ.'e is my darling, &c." Were it 
at all deemed neceflary to tranflaic the redundant word for the fake 
of emphafis, I fliould prefer giving it another turn, and fay, " That 
" woman, &c. The Prophetefs Debora, &c. — Thofe little ones, &c. 
" — Jehovah himfelf, &c." — Although, in general, it would, per- 

* We fliould laugh at a tranflator who fhould thus literally render : ^/id tibi vis F 
Scire ubi nunc fit tua tibi Daphnis ? or the French Je m'en vais — battez — moi cet 
homme-la va-t-en, il s'en eft alle. Yet the perfonal pronouns are not lefs redundant 
in the above Hebrew phrafes, than in any of thefe. 

4 haps. 

[ 24 ] 

haps, be more agreeable to the fimplicity of the Scrlpture-ftilc to 
leave the pronoun untranflated. * 

Hoc quoque, Tirefia, prater narrate/, petentl 

A fimilar redundancy is frequent in the pronominal fuffixes 1 and 
n ; Dn and |n ; efpecially in combination with the infeparable pre- 
pofitions a and D — " I know him that he will command his children 
" — the land which I will give you to inherit it — But of the tree of 
" the knowledge of good and evil, thou flialt not eat of //. 
" Thefe are the nations, which the Lord left to prove Ifrael by /Z»^;«."f 
In many inftances our tranflators difregarded fuch expletives ; thus 
Numb, XXXV. 34. inflead of " Defile not therefore the land which 
" ye fhall inhabit, which I dwell in it ;" they judicioufly render 
*' wherein I dwell :" and I can fee no good reafon why they did not 
extend the fame licence to all fimilar cafes. 

It likewife appears to me, that it would often be proper to omit 
tranflating the relative "\li?N, efpecially when it cannot be rendered 

* Our tranflators did not always render it. Thus Exod. W. 14. we haA'e, " I 
*' know that he can fpeak well ;" which in the original is, " I know that he can fpeak 
" well, he," correfponding exaftly with the French vulgarifm, " Je vous le dis, moi— 
" il fe tait, lui." 

t The French have a fimilar pleonafm. La viiloire qu'il tient deja, un coup de 
fabre eft fur le point de la lui ravir. The vidory, which he already grafps, the ftroke 
of a fabre is on the point of fnatching it from him. And fome of our modern re- 
finers have fliewn a ftrange inclination to ape this ungrammatical mode of exprefllon. 

" without 

[ 25 ] 

without an italic fupplement. A ftriking example occurs In the very 
firft chapter of Genefis, v. 7. " God made the firmament, and 
" divided the waters which were under the firmament, from the 
" waters which were above the firmament." This is in reality a 
contradldion ; for , if the waters were already above the firmament, 
what need to divide them from thofe that were below ? Other trans- 
lators^ have, with nearly equal impropriety, fupplied the word are^ 
for how could the waters above, which God at the creation Separated 
by the atmofphere from thofe below, be the waters that are now 
feparated by that fame atmofphere ? But if we tranflate fimply and 
indefinitely, " the waters above the firmament from the waters be- 
" low the firmament ;" all will be clear and confiftent. 

The word tt?''N, man^ Is often a mere expletive, not only In 
Hebrew, but alfo in Greek ; * and as fuch our tranflators fometlmes 
confidered it. Exod. ii. 11. " Jrie fpicd (a man) an Egyptian 
" fmiting (a man) a Hebrew:" and v. 14. "Who made thee 
" (a man) a prince and a judge over us ?" Judges vl. 8. -*' The 
" Lord fent (a man) a prophet :" xx. 4. And (the man) " the 
" Levite." f Why did they not ufe the fame freedom, Gen. 
xlil. 30. where they render ^-IN '>:nK ir\S' " The man who Is the 

* Mxxiou!,(. Demoft. ami in the New Teftament asofs? aJtJ.foi, aaJ-; Erai^ei, &c. 

t In Jeremiah xxxviii. 7. they give it another term, and tranflate D'^ID w'''X one 
s£ the Eunuchs. 

E " Lord 

C *6 I 

« Lord of the land," at the espence of introducing two words that 
are not in the text* : and again v. 33. " The man, the Lord of 
" the country." I need not remark that nirJ<, a woman, is often in 
the fame predicament. See 2 Sam. xv. 1 6. i Kings iii. 1 6. Jerem. 
iii. 3. 

What I have faid of t^^-iN is apphcable to \1 : " The fons of the 
" prophets," and " the prophets" are the fame thing; as in Greek 
vm A;^aiw;' and -n-aiHi laTpuv fignify only " the Greeks" and " the 
** Phyficians :" and here a queftion might be made, whether it 
would not conduce to perfpicuity, and prevent mifapprehenfion, 
every where to render ""iD, except when it denotes the immediate 
progeny, by the gentile, or patronymic, of the proper name that 
follows ? So that, inftead of faying " the children of Reuben, the 
** children of Gad, the children of Moab, Amalek, Ammon, &c." 
we fhould fay, " the Reubenites, Gadites, Moabites, Amalekites, 
" Ammonites, &c." Here, too, our tranflators have fet the ex- 
ample ; though, as I have already faid, without any fort of uni- 
formity. Joel iii. 6. " The children of Judah, and the children of 
" Jerufalem, have ye fold unto the Grecians." The Hebrew has 
" to the children of the Greeks." So Judges xix. 16. " Benjamites 
(it fhould be Benjaminites) for fons of Jemini." i Chron. xxiii. 
27. " Levites" for " fons of Levi." 2 Chron. xxvii. 5. " Ammo- 
" nitea" for " children of Ammon." Ezek. xxiii. 15. " Babylo- 

* According to their fcrupulous fyftcm, " who is " fliould have been in Italics. 
4 " nians" 

[ 27 ] 

** mans" for " children of Babylon ; " and even " men" for " fons 
" of man or Adam." Pfalm Ixxxix. 47.* 

This licence fhould, I think, be extended to proper names, when 
thefe fignify a whole tribe or people. This has been foinc times done 
by our tranflators, but not nearly fo often as it fhould feem expedient. 
A man of ordinary comprehenfion, on reading thefe words, " Judah 
*' went with Simeon his brother — Judah took Gaza — The Lord was 
" with Judah ; and he drove out the Canaanites — The Lord deliver- 
*' ed them into the hand of Midian — Thus faith the Lord of Hofts ; 
*' I remember what Amalek did to Ifrael ; how he laid wait for him 
" in the way" — might naturally enough imagine that fo many dif- 
ferent individuals were hei^e defigned. Would it not be better, 
therefore, to tranflate Amalekites, Midianites, Simeonites, Judaites ?" 
or, if in the two laft inftances the terms may feem uncouth, fupply 
in Italics the word tribe ? Nor would I make the fame exception here 
in favour of '!?N"IU^'' itfelf, that I juft now made in favour ofbii'\U'> "iJD ; 
but I would render it " Ifraelites" when I faw occafion j or fupply 
the word children. f 

E 2 The 

* I fhould, however, 1 know not well for what reafon, be inclined to make one ex- 
•ceptisn : I would ftill fay, the children of Abraham, of Ifaac, of Jacob, and above all, 
" the children of Ifrael." It is a kind of national diftincSlion of the pofterityof thofe three 
patriarchs, and is fo often repeated and fo univerfally underftopd, that no ambijuity 
■can eafily arife from it. 

•f- What has been faid in this and the preceding fedion is to be underftood chiefly 
■•f the profe parts of the Bible. In poetry, a different mode of rendering fliould gene- 

[ ^8 ] 
The word D"'i3 or ">J3 is, likeways, fometimes pleonafllc, though 
not fo frequently, I fufpe£t, as fome Grammarians would have it to be. 
Ifeenoreafonforfuppreflingit in fuch phrafes as thefe : " Darknefs was 
" upon the face of the ,deep — There went up a mift from the earth 
" and watered the whole face of the ground — and behold the face of 
" the ground was dry." We daily ufe the word face in much bolder 
and far lefs analogical metaphors, and iu reality, D'OiD fignifies the 
external appearance of any thing. It is true, however, that the word 
cannot, in many places, be rendered literally ; or fhould not, perhaps, 
be rendered at all : and in this the tranflator muft be guided by gram- 
matical analogy and idiomatical propriety ; and follow, according to 
the particular exigency, that method of rendering, which is the moft 
likely to give the full force of the original, without its obfcurity.* 


rally prevail ; even although an explanatory note fliould be requlfite to prevent mif. 

* Befide the pleonafms which our tranflators introduced into the Englifh Bible from 
the originals, they feem to have admitted others that have little or no foundation in the 
originals. For example, in rendering the fecond perfons of the imperative mood, they 
have often expreired the perfonal pronoun thou and ye when they are not in the Hebrew. 
Thus Num. xvi. 19. " Only rebel not ye againft the Lord ; neither fear ye the 
people of the land." It may indeed be faid that ye is implied in the verbs : but furely 
it is not neceflary to exprefs it ; and if DflN had been in the Text, they could have 
done no more. At any rate, if it was implied there, it was equally implied in the laft 
part of the fame verfc ; which is neverthelefs rendered " fear them not." Of is plainly 
fuperfluous and, moreover, a folecifm, in fuch phrafes as thefe : " Take an heifer of 
three years old. A lamb of one year old," &c. Are not, likeways, all the perfonal 


■ [ 29 1 

The fame rules mufl: dired him in rendering or not rendering: 
nS. '•fl. n\ "I"in. inp. UV. -lai. Vip. DI'' &c. and how far, if he 
depart from the Hebraifm, he may lawfully vary its equivalents 
Let us now proceed to queries of a different nature. 

It is well known that the fmgular number is, in Hebrew, very of- 
ten ufed to exprefs the whole genus or fpecies of the thing fignified. 
Such Colledlives are more or lefs frequent in every language, but 
are of much greater extent in the Afiatic, than in the European 
dialeds. " The earth brought forth — the herb yielding feed — and 
" the tree yielding fruit — And God made the beaft of the earth after 
" his kind — Have dominion over the fifli of the fea and over the fowl 
" of the air — Of every clean beaft thou fhalt take to thee by fevens." 
Our tranflators did not always think themfelves obliged to follow 
fo literal a mode of rendering. Gen.'xxxii. 5. " I have oxen and afles." 
Hebrew, " I have ox and afs." Lcvlt. xi. 2, " Thefe are the beafts 
which ye fhall eat." Hebrew, " This is the beaft." Num. xxi. 7, 

pronouns too frequently repeated, when there is no real change in the perfon. I fliould, 
alfo, think that the word that is fuperfluous in fuch phrafes as this, Jud. ii. 20. " And 
he faid becaufc that this people &:c." "l*i'{^ 'A^i and fimilar combinations beins; per- 
feftly rendered by becaufe. In like manner ll^'^ and D 71^'? feem fully rendered by 
" for ever," without the addition of" more." Nay a ufelefs pleonafm may fometimes 
arife from the very arrangement of a fentence : and I think there are no lefs than five 
fuperfluous words in the following verfe, Levit. xx. 2. " Whofoever he be of the 
« children of Ifrael, or of the ftrangers that fojourn in Ifrael, that giveth any of 
" his feed UNto Moloch, he {hall furely be put to death." Read it without the words 
in Capitals, and fee if it be not as complete, more fimple, and hfs embarra/Ted. 
Nor is there a fingle word of the Hebrew unexprefled : for the "ltJ?{< before ?f)l is 
included in the word " whofoever ;" neither is there any need of Italics to conned the 

" Pray 

[ 30 i 

" Pray unto the Lord that he take away the ferpents from us." 
Hebrew, " the ferpent." Surely they might have ufed the fame 
freedom in many other places, which would have prevented a con- 
fiderable number of ungrammatical combinations, which, by follow- 
ing the other mode, they could not eafily avoid. I fhould therefore 
hope that no future tranflator will be blamed for rendering all fuch 
fingulars in the plural number, unlefs when the word ^3 precedes 
them ; in which cafe it will much depend on circumftances, whether 
he fhall or fhall not prefer the fmgular. I need hardly add, that 
the fame liberty fhould be taken with plurals, when they convey 
only a fmgular meaning. 

Befide this enallage of numbers, which is extremely frequent, 
there is another of perfons, the want of attention to which has intro- 
duced great confufion into modern tranllations, and given rife to 
many rafh conjedtviral emendations of the text. It is, when in ad- 
dreffes to God, or even to man, the third perfon is elegantly ufed for 
the fecond ; and fhould always be rendered in the fecond. A pro- 
per inftance occurs in Pfalm civ. The Pfalmifl, in our common 
verfion, is made to addrefs the Almighty in this manner : " O Lord 
" my God, thou art very great ; thou art clothed with honour 
*' and majefty. Who coverest thyfelf with light as with a gar- 
" ment ; who stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain ; who 
*' LAVETH the beams of his chambers in the waters ; who maketh 
■" the clouds his chariot ; who walketii upon the wings of the 

" wind J 

C 3» ] 

** wind ; who MAKETH His angels fpirlts, and His minifters a 
" flaming fire ; who laid the foundations of the earth that it fhould 
" not be removed for ever : Thou coveredst it &c." Here^ 
befides that a look of incoherency is given to the whole paflage, the 
rules of our Grammar require stretchest, layest, makest, 
WALKEST, as well as art, coverest, coveredst ; and the pro- 
noun THY throughout, inilead of his. But the affix i after ini'^'wr 
3Dn> ''Di<S,!3> Sec. determined our tranflators to admit a folecifm rather, 
than depart from the letter of their original. 

It is to be remarked that the Hebrew words, which are here 
tranflated in the fecond and third perfons, are, in reality, a£live 
participles, and that, in fuch cafes, it is a frequent idiotifm of the 
Oriental languages to exprefs the agent in the third perfon, though 
underftood of the fecond. The Syrians go a ftep further and extend 
this licence to the third perfon of the preterite. " O thou that 
** SAID." — " O thou fon of man who judgeth his neighbour.'* 
— ^" Jerufalem, Jerufalem, that killeth the prophets and stoneth- 
" thofe who are fent to it."* And fo in the plural, " Tell me, ye, who 
" are willing that they (not ye) be under the law." Nothing, then, 
can be more juft than St. Jerom's remark, that thefe and fuch enallages 
create (to thofe who attend not fufficiently to the genius of 

* The Greek has here partly the fame enallage — J xzon^mnaa, tsj Tfiipr>lx(; xcn 
XiBoSoAao-a T«? aB-tr«Af»em? ^fo5 ««!'!» (not, s-fi>{ c-e) Sce alfo Luc i. 42.— Act. xvii. 3. — 
Rom. vii. 4. 

[ 32 3 

the Hebrew language) innumerable difficulties ; but if they 
be reftored, as they fhould be, to their proper cafes, perfons 
and tenfes, what appeared obfcure will become plain and ob- 

A difficulty here prefents itfelf which has often puzzled me. 
In the injundions which God gives to his people, the alternate 
change of numbers is extremely frequent, and often appears awk- 
ward in an Englifh drefs. " \Vhen_>'^ reap the harveft oi your land, 
" thou fhalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field. 7'e fhall not 
" round the corners oiyour heads, neither fhalt thou mar the corners 
" of thy beard. — If a ftranger fojourn with thee in thy land, ye fhall 
" not vex him — When a man or a woman fhall commit any fin that 
" men commit, and that perfon be guilty, then they fhall confefs the 
" fin which they have done, and he fhall recompenfe hh trefpafs."i" 

* The enallage that gave rife to this difcuffionls not peculiar to the Oriental diale<Ss. 
it is quite familiar at this day to the Italians and Spaniards. Nor are we without ex- 
amples of it in our own tongue. 

" Oh thou, who touch'd Ifaiah's lips with fire." 

In truth, our ideas are here divided between the perfonal pronoun and the relative. 
The latter is fo generally conneiSled with the third perfon, that we think any other 
conneftion unnatural. Thus when I fay " Art thou the perfon who ftole my watch ?" 
I refer the relative to perjon, not to thou. So " thou who touched" is equiva- 
lent to " thou, the perfon, who touched." 

t The fame enallage is often found where no precept is enjoined, particularly in 
poetical compofition, although many fuch enallages are, doubtlefs, chargeable on the 
Copyifts, who frequently miftook and interchanged the fuffixes. Examples may be 
feenin theblefling of Mofcs, Deuter. xxxiii. and in Pfalm xvi. 


l 33 ] 

Would It, or fhould it be confidercd as dealing too freely with the 
Text, to reduce all that variety to one uniform tenor, and always 
tranflate fuch injuntStions in the plural, except when they really are 
addrefled to one perfon ? The mode of tranflating which Broughton 
propofed, and which Caftalio had, before him, adopted, would for 
the moft part remove this difficulty ; fo much the more as our impera- 
tives have no variety in termination ; yet even this expedient would 
not always ferve the purpofe, as long as tbou and je, thine and 
j'ourSy he and the\\ his and theirs are fo often confounded. Befides, 
the future feems to give a folemnity and force to the precept, which 
is not fo apparent in the fimple imperative ; and " Thou fhalt not 

" fteal Thou flialt not commit adultery Thou Ihalt not covet 

*' thy neighbour's houfe, &c." would, I think, be ill exchanged for 
" Steal not" — " commit not adultery" — " covet not, &c." And, 
indeed, though in all otKer fuch cafes, I fhould be inclined to ufe the 
plural ; throughout the Decalogue I would retain tlie fingular. 

As idiomatical pleonafms may be retrenched in a tranflation with- 
out the fmallefl injury to the original author ; fo may his ellipfifes 
be with propriety fupplied, if the fupplements be virtually contained 
in the elliptical phrafe. Putting fuch fupplement« in Italics, is a mere 
modern refinement, unknown to the moft literal ancient tranllators. 
Even Pagninus himfelf did not dream of fo filly a device. The 
father of it, I believe, was Arias Montanus ; who yet, probably, 
never meant that it fhould be adopted in a tranflation for common 

F ufe. 

[ 34 ] 

ufe. His fole intention feems to have been to give to his half- 
learned readers fome idea of the Hebrew idiom ; and that, indeed, 
is the only advantage that can be derived from his labour. It is 
therefore no fmall matter of furprife, that he fhould, in this refpe<3:, 
have become a model to pofterior tranflators* ; and continued to be 
fo, until your Lordfhip broke the enchantment. 

We fhould laugh at the man, who in rendering thefe words of 
Lucian, y fxoi o-;:j^oA«, " I am not at leifure," fhould, to fhew his flrit^ 
attention and fidelity to the Original, diflingulfh the Englifh words 
In this manner, " I aiti not at leifure :" which, after all, do not 
entirely exhibit the Greek idiom — Or who, of the Latin words 
** ^id mulla P" fhould thus variegate the verfion ; "What«f^^/V 
there for many ^vords ?" Or who, having to exprefs in French the 
following fentence : " The news you bring are too good, not to 
" wifh they were true }" fliould deem it his duty, as a faithful inter- 
preter, to put in Italics every word in his tranflation that has not a 
correfpondent word in his original, even when the word is evidently 
underftood, and might with equal propriety be cxpreffed : " Les 
" nouvelles que vous apportez font trop bonnes pour ne fas fouhaiter 
•' queWes fuifent vraies." 

* What is ftill more aftonifhing, fome of thofe who tranflated from the Vulgate, 
paid the fame fcrupulous regard to its peculiar ellipfifes ; although the author of the 
Vulgate was a free tranflator, and often abandoned the idiom of the Hebrew 
without neceflity. But they thought, I fuppofe, that they could not, as Catholics, 
(hew lefe refped for the Latin verfion, than Proteftants had done for the Original. 


[ 35 ] 

But is k not as ridiculous in a Verfion of the Bible, to diftinguifh 
by Italics thofe neceflary and implied fupplements which we fo fre- 
quently meet with in modern tranflations : " God faw that it was 
" good — This is now bone of my bone — Thefe are the generations 
" of Noah — The men of Sodom were wicked. In thofe days there 
" was no King in Ifrael ; every one did that which was right in his 
" own eyes, &c." What elfe is this but to count fyllables and play 
with words ? Italics are not only often unneceflary, but, fometimes, 
degrade the Text. When Achifh, for example (i Sam. xxl. 15.), is 
made to fay, " Shall this fellow come into my houfe." The w^ord 
fellow is here worfe than fuperfluous. It prefents to the reader an 
idea that is not in the original ; and is, befides, a term not only low 
and vulgar ; but alfo, if we attend to its etymology, improperly 

What has been faid of the Pleonafm and EUipfis, is more or lefs 
applicable to the Enallage, Hypallage, and other lubordinate figures of 
fpeech, in the rendering of all which a tranflator fhould, I prefume, 
be more ftudious of retaining the genuine fenfe than the precife idiom 
of his original ; when by endeavouring to exprefs the latter, he would 
expofe himfelf to the danger of obfcurity, ambiguity, or barbarifm. 

I come now, my Lord, to a queftion of great importance, nearly 

connected with the preceding fedions : How far and in what 

circuraftances is the Hebrew arrangement of words and fentences, 
to be followed in a tranflation ? 

F 2 And 

[ 36 ] 

And here, I think, one general propofitlon may be laid down as 
incontrovertible ; namely, That mode of arrangementjs always the 
beft which exprefles the meaning of the original in the moll intelligi- 
ble and energetic terms ; and fuch as the author himfelf would, moft 
probably, have chofen, if he had written in the tranflator's lan- 

Luckily for an Englifli tranflator of the Bible, he will not be often 
under any great neceflity of departing much from the arrangement 
of the Hebrew ; efpecially in the poetical parts of Scripture, where 
the two idioms are fo congenial as to appear almoft like twin-bro- 
thers *. Sometimes, however, he will fee ftrong reafons for changing 
the order even in poetry, and ftill more frequently in profe. This 
will happen either in the arrangement of the feveral words of a fingle 
fentence, or of the feveral members of a compound fentence, or of 
feveral different fentences together- 

In the firft cafe it cannot be doubted, that it k not only allowable,, 
but often neceffary to change the order of the Hebrew. There is 
hardly a verfe in the Bible, in which inftances do not occur. For^ 
what Ainfworth, or other Englifh Jquila^ would venture to fay, " la 
" the beginning created God the Heavens— ^ And faw God the 

* James's tranflators did not always avail themfelves of this natural advantage ; 
and Purver almoft never attended to it, 

** light 

[ 37 ] 

" light that It was good The lamp of God before it went out 

•* The labour of thy hands for thou fhalt eat?* 

It is little lefs indubitable, that the arrangement of the feveral 
members of a fentence may fometimes require to be changed. Thus 
Exod. xvii. 20. the order of the Hebrew is this : " He that facri- 
" ficeth to other Gods, fliall be utterly deflroyed, fave to the 
" Lord only:" but our tranflators judicioufly changed that order, 
and rendered, " He that facrificeth unto any Godf, fave unto 
" the Lord only, fhall be utterly deftroyed." So Exod. xii. 15. 
this fentence, " Whofoever eateth leavened bread from the firft day 
" until the feventh day," is in the Hebrew fo arranged, that the laft 
comma precedes the fecond, which in Englilh would be extremely 
uncouth and confufed. In all frmilar cafes therefore the arrangement 
of the original Ihould be departed from, and had our tranflators more 
frequently done fo, thcj would have left much fewer obfcurities in 
their tranflatlon. 

The only real difficulty, then, regards the third cafe. Is it lawful 
to tranfpofe whole complete fentences, when their natural order 

* Yet even this mode of conftruflion our language admits : and it was often fol- 
lowed by our tranflators. Then fang Mofes — Then came Amalek — The right 
{hou'.der fhall ye give, &c." ^c. would it not be better to reftrain this inverted 
pofition of nominative and verb to interrogatory fentences, and poetical compofi- 

t, They followsd the prefent faulty text; in which D"'nn}< is wanting. 



[ 38 ] 

fecms to be inverted, and when there is reafon to fufpeft that tliey 
have been fhifted from their firft place in the original ? 

That tranfpofitions may have been made in the original texts of 
the Bible, as well as in other waitings, will hardly be denied : nay, 
that they have adually been fometimes made is unqueftionable : 
but I fear, fome modern interpreters have been too ready to find 
them where they are not, or, at leaft, where there are not fufficient 
proofs or probability of their exifting. I would therefore be ex- 
tremely cautious in admitting them, and confider them nearly in 
the fame light with a various ledion. If there were found a diver- 
fity of order in the Hebrew manufcript's, or in the ancient verfions, 
I fhould think myfelf at liberty to follow that order which Ihould ap- 
pear to me the moil confiftent with the context : but if all the ma- 
nufcripts and verfions agreed, I fhould be apt to look upon it as an 
original fynchyfis j and content myfelf with pointing out, In a note, 
a feemingly more natural order. 

At the fame time I confefs, that I would not blame a tranflator 
for purfuing a different plan. For, provided there be nothing effen- 
tial retrenched from the text, or added to it, I fee no harm that can 
enfue from putting one fentence before or after another, on rational 
grounds*. Yet, as this licence, once affumed, would probably pro- 

* 9iiO ord'ine quid referatur-^ modo conjlat Veritas, aut nihili aut parum inter eft. 



[ 39 ] 

duce too great a diverfity of arrangement (for almoft every one 
would arrange in a different manner), I would rather be for retaining 
the prefent order in all fuch cafes as admit only a doubt of its 
being the right one. 

Before I difmifs this fubjedl of arrangement, I will juft remark, 
that tranflators in general have paid too little attention to it. An 
improper difpofition of words in a fentence, is little lefs ofFenfive 
to the eye and ear than confufion in the ornaments of a building, 
or difliarmony In a piece of mufic ; befide its being produdlive of 
obfcurity, ambiguity, and even of a falfe meaning. — To the example 
I have given in my Prospectus, from Ezek. permit me to add a 
few more from our laft tranflation. Judg. ii. 21. " I aUb will not 
" henceforth drive out any from before them, of the nations which 
*' Jofhua left." Here the fentence is embarrafled by afiy being out of 
its place. Exod. xxxv. 29. " All manner of work which the Lord 
" had commanded to be made by the hand of Mofes." Here the 
meaning is ambiguous; and a fmall change in the arrangement 
would have prevented that ambiguity. Gen. xiii. 10. " Lot lifted 
•' up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well 
** watered every where, before the Lord deftroyed Sodom and Go- 
" morra, as the garden "of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as 
" thou goeft to Zoar." Here we are prefented with a wrong mean- 
ing ; and the fynchyfis of the Hebrew fhould not have been fol- 
4 lowed 

[ 40 ] 

lowed in a vernacular veriion*. The lame ambiguity is often found 
in the New Teilament, from the fame caufe. For example, i Cor. 
xvi. II." With the brethren," is fo placed that it may fignify either 
that St. Paul looked for Timothy and the brethren ; or that St. Paul 
and the brethren looked for Timothy:" By arranging thus, " For 
" I, with the brethren, look for him," the ambiguity is removed. 
Ads xxi. 5. " They all brought us on our way, with wives and 
children." Qu. whofe wives and children? See alfo Ads xxii. 29. 
Romans iv. 16, 17, 18. 

Befide the general care with which a tranflator fliould arrange 
his words and fentences throughout; ought he not moreover to aim 
at that diverfity of ftrudure which may be remarked in the different 
forts of compofitions in all languages, and is ftrongly diftinguifhable 
in the Hebrew writings ? A poetical period will admit, and fome- 
times require, an arrangement, that in profe would be highly incon- 
gruous. Even in profe there is, I conceive, a real, though not fo 
ftriking a difference, in the difpofition of the component parts of an 
hiftorical fentence, a precept, a parable, and an apophthegm. The 
laft, in particular, feems to demand a certain degree of artificial 
neatnefs peculiar to itfelf ; and which makes it the boundary, as it 


The laft revifers of the Geneva French verfion have well rendered this fentence. 
Lot ayant eleve les yieux, vid toute la plaine du Jourdain, qui etoit, avant que 
•" I'Eternel eut detruit Sodome et Gomorra, arrofee partout jufq' a ce que tu viennes 
" en Tfoar, comme un jardin de TEternel, ct comme le pais d'Egypte." 


. [ 41 ] 

were, between profe and poetry; if It do not, Indeed, belong to the 

At any rate, as Hebrew poetry Is confefTedly arranged In a very 
different manner from Hebrew profe, it Is furely the duty of a 
tranflator to endeavour to Imitate that difference in his verfion. And 
here it is, I think, that modern tranflatlons, our public one not ex- 
cepted, are the moft fufceptible of further improvement. Your 
Lordfhip fet the example ; which has been fuccefsfully followed by 
Mr. Blayney and Bifliop Newcome ; and after which I alfo have at- 
tempted to form my Imperfedt copy. 

But fhould a verfion of the poetical parts of fcripture be divided 
into lines or hemiftichs, correfponding with what is called Hebrew 
metre? This method, firfl pradifed by the Germans*, has been 
adopted by the writers of moft other nations ; and more efpecially 
by thofe of our own. Bifhop Newcome has even made it one of 
his fifteen rules for a good tranflation. 

Notwithftanding all this, I cannot help ferioully doubting of its 
propriety. I can fee no force or beauty it adds to the text, nor pro- 
fit nor pleafm'e it can bring to the reader. On the contrary, I 

* True it is, that we meet with a fort of ftichical divifion, not only of the poetical, 
but likeways of the fentential books of fcripture, in the Alexandrian and other 
Greek manufcripts ; and we learn from Hefychius that this was an early invention : 
but I queftion if any of our modern metrical tranflators would take it for their 

G think. 

C 42 ] 
think It confiderably disjoints and disfigures the one, and often per- 
plexes and puzzles the other. Permit me to lay before your Lord- 
fhip a fpecimen from your own Ifaiahj the firft that prefent* 

And it fhall be, when Moab fhall fee, 

That he hath v^earied himfelf out on the high place. 

That he fhall enter into his fanCtuary 

To intercede : but he fliall not prevail. 

Ifaiah xvi. 12. 

Or the following from Bifhop Newcome's Zechariah : 
In that day Jehovah will defend 
The inhabitants of Jerufalem j 
And he that is feeble among them fhall be 
In that day, as David. 

Does It really appear to your Lordfhip, that in either of thefe In- 
ftances the text looks to advantage ; or that the reader will be better 
pleafed to fee it arrayed in this whimfical manner, than in the fober 
garb of meafured profe ? I greatly fear he will not. 

Indeed this mode of dividing a tranflation of the Hebrew poetry, 
feems very fimilar to that which was followed in the old literal 
Latin verfions of Homer; which not only give us no adequate 
idea of the beauties of the great original j but create an eternal dif- 
guft to the reader, by difplaying before his eyes all the external 
4 appearance 

[ 43 ] 

appearance of verfe, without any of its properties. Yet thofe Latin 
lines have one advantage over your Englifh ones : we are fure they 
correfpond exacSlly with fo many Greek verfes ; whereas no one 
will, I prefume, aflert the fame of any ftichical verfion made from 
the Hebrew. 

You, my Lord, of all men know beft, how little we are ac- 
quainted with the meafure and raechanifm of Hebrew verfe ; and 
how capricious, for the moft part, are the divifions that' have been 
made of them, even by the moft learned Hebraifts. What one 
would divide into long lines, another would divide into fhort ; and 
what by this one would be combined into ftanzas, would by that 
one be arranged in feparate hemiftichs. So that in reality, to give 
a verfion divided into lines of any fort, would be to give us no 
more than the arbitrary notions of the divider ; and could only ferve 
to imprefs a falfe, or at leaft an uncenaiu idea on the mind of the 
reader; without contributing either to his inftrudtion or edification*. 


* Such divifions are not only often arbitrary, but fometlmes lead to delufion. I (hall 
give an inftance from Mr. Bbyney's Jeremiah, Lam. ii. 17. 

" Jehovah hath accompllflied that which he had decreed, 

he hath fulfilled his word; 
*• "What he conftituted in the days of old, he hatli de- 

ftroyed and not fpared." 

To this conftruAion he was *' determined," he fays, « by the metre." I fliould be 
glad to know by what rules of metre. Surely not by the parallelifm, which is mani- 
feftly deftroyed by this divifion But let any one read the pafiage, without imagi- 

G 2 nary 

[ 44 ] 

For what inftrudion or edification can the mere Englifh reader 
receive from fuch irregular and ill-conne£ted lines as thefe, prefented 
to him as an exemplification of Hebrew verfe ? 

In the houfe of Ifrael I have feen a horrible thing : 

There Ephraim committeth fornication ; 

Ifrael is polluted. 

Moreover, O Judah, an harveft is appointed of thee 

Among thofe who lead away the captivity of my people. 

Zech. viii. 21. 
Or thefe: 

And the inhabitants of one city fhall go 

Into another, faying : 

Let us furely go to entreat the face of Jehovah, 

And to feek Jehovah God of Holls ■ 

I will go alfo. 

nary laws of metre in his head ; and I am confident, he will naturally divide the words 
with all the ancient tranflators, in the following manner : 

Jehovah hath done— what he had devifed ; 

Hath accompliflied the purpofe — v/hich he decreed of old j 

Hath deftroyeJ — and hath not fpared— — 

Not to mention that Mr. Blayney's laft line prefents an ambiguity, which a common 
reader might eafily conceive to be a flat contradidion, " He hath deftroyed and not 
" fpared, what he had conftituted in the days of old." What ? had he deftroyed his own 
decrees ? It is certain that is not Mr. Blayney's meaning ; but his meaning is not fo 
obvious as it fliould be ; and even if his conftrudion were allowed to be right, per- 
fyicuity required that " What he conftituted in the days of old," fhould be included 
in a paienthefis ; or the word what changed into as. 


[ 45 ] 

Were the text for public fervuce to be thus divided, the befl 
readers would, I believe, make but an awkward appearance in de- 
livering the moft fublime oracles of religion. The eye and the ear 
would be at continual variance ; the tones and cadences would be 
perpetually confounded, and grating difharmony attend the pronun- 
ciation of almoft every period. 

On the whole, then, may I not appeal to your Lordfhip's judg- 
ment, even from your own pradice ; that in giving a verfion for 
general reading, fuch a divifion of thofe parts which are fuppofed 
to be poetry, would be attended with manifeft inconvenience ; and 
with no vifible advantage ; and that, therefore, a plain profe-like 
verfion, which flaould preferve as much as poiTible of what your 
Lordfhip has fo ably proved to conftitute the effence of Hebrew 
poetry, would be greatly preferable. 

The Public will, perhaps, here, tax me with prefumption for 
ofTering to differ from lb many learned men. But I trull I have 
done it with all due deference and modefty. I have candidly pro- 
pofed my own doubts ; I wifli to have them canvafled ; am ready 
to hear what may be faid on the other fide of the queftion, and dif- 
pofed to give up my opinion to the general voice. 

Although a proper arrangement of words and fentences will, cer- 
tainly, go a great way towards removing a number of ambiguities, 
it will not always be found fufficient to give to a tranflation of the 


[ 46 1 

Bible, that degree of perfpicuky, which a book Intended for gene- 
ral inftrudlion feems to require : and, therefore, every other mean 
fhould be employed, that can ferve for that purpofe, without hurt- 
ing the integrity of the text, or altering its genuine meaning. Among 
thefe means I would propofe the following licences, all which have 
already been taken by fome one or other tranflator j and the greateft 
part of them by thofe even who profefs to give the moll literal 

Among the caufes of ambiguity in the Hebrew text, one is, the 

too frequent ufe of the verb, without its proper nominative ex- 

prefled. Thus Num. xxiii. 4. " And God met Balaam ; and he 

*' faid to him, I have prepared feven altars, &c." The meaning, 

which the context only leads us to, would be more obvious, if the ^ 

before "10N"» were rendered " who," as was often done by the author 

of the Vulgate, and not unfrequently by fome of the mofl fcrupu- 

lous modern tranflators. Our own, fometimes, though rarely, ufed 

this licence. Thus Judges ill, 19. " But he himfelf (Ehud) turned 

*' again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and faid, I have a 

fecret errand to thee, O King; who faid (lOK''')) keep filence." 

And Jerem. xxxvl. 32. " Then Jeremiah took another roll and 

gave it to Baruch the Scribe, the fon of Neriab, WHO wrote 

(l3r\D^"l) therein, &c." See alfo Judg. lii. 31. Prov. xi. 22.— 

Why not extend it to all fimilar cafes ? It is indeed hardly conceiv- 

xible how many obfcurities and ambiguities are made to difappear by 

this fmgle licence. 



[ 47 ] 

Another mean has been employed to remove this fpecies of 
ambiguity ; efpecially when the verb repeated is lOK- When the 
fecond or third naN''1 has a different (though not expreffed) nomi- 
native from the preceding one, St. Jerom very often, our firfl: tranf- 
lators frequently, and our laft not feldom render it " he anfvrered ;'* 
which not only excludes all doubtfulnefs of meaning, but breaks 
that colloquial monotony, which arifes from the conftant return of 
«. he faid," and " he faid" again*. 

Yet neither of thefe expedients will always take away the ambi- 
guity. Thus Num. xxiii. 7. " And he took up his parable." Who 
took up his parable ? Not the perfon laft mentioned in the text, for 
that was the King of Moab j but Balaam, mentioned in the pre- 
ceding verfe. Would it not be better then to infert Balaam in Ita- 
talics before " took up his parable ;" fo much the rather, as almoft 
all tranflators, from the Seventy downwards, have, in other places 
not more ambiguous than this, taken the like freedom. 

There is yet another method, which, If difcriminately ufed, 
might ferve to give a greater degree of clearnefs to the text, and 
at the fame time prevent a tedious repetition of the copulative. 
It is to change the firft of two or more confecutive preterites 
into the participle of the fame verb. So, often, the Greek tranf- 

* Sometimes the Vulgate, for the fake of variety, joins this expedient widi the 
former. Et ecu Angelus Damini de uek clamavit .Ikens : Abraham ! Jbreham / ^i 
refpondit {"1J2N"'1) adfttni. Gen. xxiii. 11, 


[ 48 ] 

latorSi ^Kct^o'Jdot. Tou xapTov avl'dj e(pay€> — Tfoa-jcaXifTOLfJiivoi S'e Itraax 
Tov IccxuSf iirsv. i^ctpaa- lccy.uS ths TroSccij £7ro/)£uG«. And flill more 
frequently the Vulgate : Egrejfufque Cain a facie Domini^ habitavit, 
^c. — Bibenfque vinum, imbriaius eji. — Ificedentes retrorfum^ opeiucrunt 
'verenda patris Jui. — Reverfus invenit Jicintem Balac^ &c. 

Although our laft tranflators feldom adopted this method, they 
very often took another equivalent to it. Of two copulatives they 
fupprefled the one, and rendered the other by when ; putting the 
fubfequent verb in the pretei-pluperfeft tenfe. Inftances may be feen 
in almoft every chapter. The Arabic and other ancient verCons had 
given them a precedent. 

As the omiflion of the nominative before its verb often beget* 
ambiguity, fo the too frequent repetition of it produces a difagree- 
able tautology. In fuch cafes the refpedive pronoun, it fhould feem, 
might be ufed inftead of it, when there is no danger of miftake. 
For this too we have the fandion of the ancient verfions, particu- 
larly the Vulgate ; and even our firft Engliih tranflators : but the 
maforetic fuperftition of pofterior times made our laft revifors afraid 
to follow their example. 

The Hebrews have a peculiar mode of expreffing themfelves in a 
negative manner, which is equivalent to a very ftrong affirmation, 
but of an oppofite nature. Thus, " not to heal one" is " to inflid 
" fores on one." — And " not to find a thing" is " to lofe it." — In 


[ 49 1 

all fuch phrafes, I am of opinion that the meaning, not the words, 
fliould be attended to ; and the phrafe rendered equivalently. Take 
an example from Hofea xii. 8. " All his labour fhall not be found 
" to him" (which is Bifhop Newcome's tranflation of a correcSled 
text) is, doubtlefs, equivalent to " All his labours fhall be loft." 
Would it not therefore be better fo to tranflate, than be under the 
neceflity of making out the fenfe by the aid of a word in Italics ; 
which, after all, prefents an ambiguous meaning ? " All his labours 
" fhall not be found profitable to him." Some of them, then, may 
be found profitable. 

There is yet another negative mode of exprefTmg an affirmation, 
more common ftill than the former, introduced by the interrogative 
particle nSh or NiSt * " Are not they beyond the Jordan ?'* 
** Have not I commanded thee V " Is not the arrow beyond thee ?" 
" Are not thefe things written in the books of the Chronicles of 
*' the Kings of Judah ?" In fuch phrafes, I prefume, the affirmative 
may be ufed at the difcretion of the tranflator ; and will often be 
preferable to the negative. 

The remaining part of my queries regards, either certain Hebrew 
words, which, though their meaning be fufficiently known, feem 
to have been improperly rendered in Engliflaj or Englifli words, 
which, though they were, perhaps, originally, as proper terms as 

* Negativa adilita Interrogatloni adfirmandi vim habet ; idem eji quod emnittv. Tympius, 
Notae in NolJiiim. 

H the 

[ so 3 

the language afforded, are not quite fo confonaat with our prefent 
ideas, or agreeable to the rules of our prefent improved Grammar— 
Or, in fine, fuch expreffions as may feem profane or indelicate, if 
literally underftood. 

At the head of the firft clafs I fhall place StbK, which our tranflators 
render " a Duke." As this word is, among the people, under- 
ftood to denote only a certain order of nobility; would not the 
meaning of the Hebrew be better conveyed by the generical term 
Chief or Prifice f 

The word tJ^53, which in its primary fignification denotes the 
vital principle, whatever it be, that makes matter capable of vege- 
tation, increafe, fenfation, &c. is, in the Bible, chiefly appropri- 
ated to animal life ; and more particularly to that of the human 
fpecies. Our tranflators commonly rendered it foul ', and, in many 
places, that may be deemed no improper rendering, efpecially in 
poetry ; but, in general, I think, it fhould be tranflated perfon ; and 
with the pronominal fuffixes, often left untranflated. This, I am 
perfuaded, would prevent many mifconceptions of the true meaning 
of the text, as well as a number of falfe confequences deducible from 
fuch mifconceptions. We cannot eafily change the popular ideas 
that ufage hath affixed to the terms of our own language; but we 
may frequently accommodate the terms of another language to 
thofe ideas. A philofophical diale<^ never exifl;ed, and probably 

never will exift. 4 


i 51 ] 

As Vii2 is the vital principle itfelf, which in animals, according 
to the Hebrew phyfiology, refides in the blood ; fo mi, the natu- 
ral meaning of which is air or w/W, is tralatitioufly ufed for animal 
refpiration, or that portion of air which is neceflary to keep the 
vital principle in motion, and which the Scripture calls emphatically 
" the breath of life," and thence it denotes what we call the whole 
fpiritual part of man, or the human foul. By a ftill ftronger 
figure it is made to fignify that fupernatural influence by which 
the Deity Is fuppofed to operate on his creatures, not improperly 
called divine infpiration, or divine impulfe. In this fenfe it is often 
perfonified, and called a Spirit either good or bad. Thus i Sam. 
xvi. 13, 14. " The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that 
" day forward, but the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and 
"an evil Spirit from the Lord troubled him." This is, perhaps, 
the boldeft metaphoi ir, th^ Oriental languages ; and has given oc- 
cafion to many abfurd and ridiculous naa^.,c both among Jews and 
Chriftians. It is, I confefs, a very hard matter for a tranflator to find 
terms adequate to all the various literal and figurative meanings of 
the word : but it fhould be his ftudy to feek them, and to make the 
beft difcrimination poflible : fo as not to prefent his reader with an idea 
that is not contained in the original. If he cannot always accom- 
plifli this in the text, a fhort explanatory note fhould be added for 
that purpofe. 

Our tranflators have often made a proper diftindion in the render- 
ing of this word ; but fometimes alfo they feem to have been led by 

H 2 theological 

[ 52 J 

theological fyftem to tranflate it Spirit, when fonie other term would 
have been more fuitable. Your Lordfhip has moft properly cor- 
reded Ifalah xiv. 7. But are there not many other fimilar paflages that 
ftand equally in need of corredion ? One in particular prefents itfelf 
at the very threfhold of the fanduar}% that has been long a ftumbling- 
block to thofe that entered. Gen. i. 2. D^on ^3S 'tJ? nfiHlD D\1'7k r\r\\ 
•' The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Although 
this tranflation greatly diminifties the force and beauty of the narra- 
tive, is incompatible with the arrangement of the original context, 
and was rightly underftood and rendered by thofe of the ancient in- 
terpreters, who were the moft likely to perceive the general meaning 
of the Hebraifm ; yet as the Seventy had literally tranflated it, and 
as it feemed favourable to one of the capital tenets of the Chriftian 
Church,, it was eagerly adopted by almoft all Chriftian Expofit^rs, 
and generally applied to the Holy GT-oA To make the text tally 
better with this appUo^t^ou, the true fenfe of the word /l5mD was 
alfo perverted. It was remarked, it feems, by fome Syrian*, that 
Sni in that dialed might fignify to brood. This acceptation, which 
was itfelf but a figurative meaning at moft, was ftill farther im- 
proved into another figurative meaning; and thus, what was at firft 
only " a great wind agitating the waters," became in time the third 
perfon of the Trinity, hatching chaotic matter into life, as a bird does 

* We learn this from St. Bafil ; and fome have fuppofed that Syrian to be St. 
Ephrem. Ephrem, however, teaches quite the contrary. 


[ 53 ] 

her eggs. Milton accordingly places him in that attitude, and 
makes him with mighty wings outjpread, Jit brooding on the vajl abyfs. 
This may be Poetry, but it is neither Scripture nor Philofophy. 
Another inftance I ihall give from die Pflilms. Pf. civ. 4. is thus 
rendered by our laft tranflators : " Who maketh his angels fpirits, 
" and his minifters a flaming fire." That a fervile tranflator from 
the Vulgate fhould be guilty of fb egregious a miftake, is not, per- 
haps, to be wondered at. He had before him an ambiguous text ; 
and might think it incumbent on him to be as obfcure and unin- 
telligible as his original ; but that one who tranflates immediately 
from the Hebrew, and is but moderately acquainted with its genius, 
fliould fo miferably degrade this fublime pafTage, is furprifmg indeed. 
*' Who maketh the winds his m.eflengers ; and his minifters, the 
flafliy lightning." A bold and fublune idea, and worthy an Oriental 

Although 1332^D is, in many places, properly rendered judgment, 
there are other places where, on account of the various acceptations 
of the Englifh term, that rendering feems inadmlffible. For exam.- 
pie. Job xxvii. 2. ''taatyD n>Dn ha is tranflated " God hath taken 
" away my judgment ;" a meaning very different from that of the 
original, which evidently fignifies " God hath put oif my caufe ; 
" hath declined bringing me to trial." Our tranflators might have, 

* Bifhop Hare has well rendered this verfe in Latin, faciens Angelas fuos^ ventos; 
Mimjlros fuos^ ignem flammantem : but Green, \vho took Bifliop Hare for Iiis model, 
has ill-tranllated into Englifh the firft line. " Who maketh his angels winds." 


[ 54 ] 

in fome fort, removed the ambiguity, by rendering "'Dfiil'rj " my 
" right," as they did in the fixth verfe of the lafl-quoied chapter j 
where " I he againft my judgment" would not prefent a more 
incongruous meaning, than, in the former paffage, " God haih 
*' taken away my judgment." 

It cannot be too often repeated, that perfpicuity is the chief 
quaUty of a good tranflation ; to attain which, it wHl always be 
lawful for a tranflator to paraphrafe what cannot be literally ren- 
dered without obfcurity. From this principle your Lordfhip has 
clearly and elegantly tranflated Ifaiah xl. 27. " And my caufe 
*' paffeth unregarded by my God," which in our vulgar verfion 
is perplexed and ambiguous : " My judgment is pafled over from 
" my God." 

I alfo doubt if the words \Dti and nit:K be always properly ren- 
dered y^//-^«/, true; falthfulnefs, truth \ and I fhould be apt to think 
that veracious and veracity might fometimes be fitly employed to ex- 
prefs their meaning. 

Is there any word in our language, or could any word be ana- 
logically introduced into it, that would, in any degree, exprefs 
the relation between nnStt^D and TW — or between 03{y a tribe and 
K3U? a fceptre? I fear not. 

The God of the Ifraelites is particularly diftinguifhed by the 
name nin"' j of wluch neither the precife meaning nor the genuine 


[ 55 ] 

pronunciation is well known. "Jehovah Is a barbarous term, that 
was never heard of before the fixteenth century* ; neither Pag- 
ninus, nor Munfter, nor even Montanus, ufed it in their verfions: 
but Junius and Caftalio having once given it a fandtion, it came 
gradually into general ufage among Latin tranflators and commen- 
tators ; and has of late made its way into vernacular verfions "f. 
Bate, your Lordfhip, Green, Blayney, and Bifhop Newcome, have 
all adopted it ; and the laft-mentioned writer thinks it fliould always 
be ufed. 

I have, notwithftanding, fome doubt about it; which I beg 
leave to propofe. As the word Lord has been fo long employed 
among Chriftians, to denote the Supreme Being, and is the only 
one in the New Teftament by which he is known, I fhould be 
ftrongly inclined to retain it in the Old ; fo much the more, be- 
caufe the ancient Greek, Syriac, Latin and Arabic interpreters re- 
fpedively rendered mrT* by a fimilar term Kupjos, N^"<0, Dominus, i^. 
Befides, we fometimes meet with niH"' in conflrudlion with ^^^t^^: 
which we could hardly render " Jehovah of Hofts ;" and Bilhop 
Newcome himfelf allows that, in fuch cafes, we muft fupply D\~l'7N 
and fay " Jehovah God of Hofts." 

* Drufms could find no higher authority for it than that of Galatinus. 

t I know not, however, if it have yet been admitted into any vernacular verfions 
except that of Michaelis in German. Luther's, the Dutch, Dani(h, Old Swedifh, 
Italian, and Spanifh have Lord. The French Genevan has the Eurnal-, which has 
been adopted by the Paris Capuchins in their late tranilations. 


[ 5<5 1 
There Is only one obje£tlon that now occurs. The word piK is 
alfo tranflated Lord, and with the fufEx my Lord, although it is 
only a term of refpe£l applied to human beings ; and moft probably 
never applied to the Deity without the repetition of D''n{<n, " Lord 
*' of Lords*." It fhould feem, therefore, that a diftindion fhould 
be made between the terms. Our tranflators made a diftindion. 
They rendered mn*" The Lord, and put it in capitals ; and "»J^^? 
my Lord, in common letters. If a farther difcrimination be deemed 
expedient, let fome other term be ufed to exprefs '»i"nN ; and I fee 
no one fo proper as Sir. It will, perhaps, be faid that the term Is 
too trite and familiar j but It Is not more fo than ^J"l'^^? muft have. 
been in Judea ; nor can It, on that account, be more improper in 
the Old Teftament than In the New ; where we have " Sir, thou 
" haft nothing to draw with," John iv. 1 1 . And In the fame chap- 
*' ter, " Sir, give me this water. — Sir, I perceive thou art a pro- 
" phet. — Sir, didft not thou fow good feed in thy field, &c." And 
in the plural, Ads xxvii. 21. *' Sirs," (faid St. Paul) " ye fhould 
*' have hearkened unto me ;" and v. 25. " Wlaerefore, Sirs, be 
" of good cheer." The Greek indeed Is here avifn ; but If the 

* In the prefent Maforetic text, indeed, and even long before the exiftence of the 
Mafora, we frequently find ^JIIK for n^iT' (though with confiderable variation in 
the manufcripts j ; but we owe this, I fufpect, to the fuperftition of the Jews. There is 
not a fmgle inftance of it, I believe, in the Samar. Pentateuch. See a curious paflage 
relative to this matter in Mr. White's tranflation of the Preface to the Arabic Hcxa- 
plur Pentateuch, in the Bodleian Library — Letter to the Bifliop of London, p. 22. 


[ 57 ] 

Apoftle had fpoke in Hebrew, it would have been lynn. At 
any rate, the term has the authority of our laft tranflators. Nay, 
we meet with it, once at leaft, in the Old Teftament. " O Sir," 
(faid Jofeph's brethren to the Steward) " we came indeed down at 
the firft time to buy bread." Gen. xliii. 20. I would therefore pro- 
pofe ufing, throughout, the word Lord for nin\ and the word Sir* 
for ^TTIH. 

It has been well remarked by Le Cene and others, that naied is 
often too ftrong an expreflion for ni^^ ; and yet, perhaps, we have 
not in our language a fuitable modifying term. The fame obferva- 
tion is applicable to tym. r\:i j^T- rhy. TpO. Dip. TO^T- S^^- "|"13, &c. 
which we often find it impoflible to render with that degree of pro- 
priety we wifh : Is not Horace's maxim, then, of innovating a little 
here applicable ? And might not a tranflator be allowed to borrow 
from other languages fuch terms as are eafily convertible, and rea- 
dily underftood ; or to revive fuch obfolete ones of our own as 
would exprefs the meaning with more difcriminating accuracy; or, 
in fine, to extend occafioually the acceptation of words now in 

* This, however, can only be done when ^jnx '* '" the compellati\'e cafe — 
for we do not fay, My Sir fuch-a-one, as the French and Dutch do ; nor even Sir 
fuch-a-one, as the Italians and Spaniards do: and therefore we muft, in all other cafes, 
render it either My Lord, or My Majier : for Mr. would hardly be fuiFerabk in a 
tranflation of the Bible. 

I Vl{c^ 

[ 58 J 

ufe, where there is no danger of error or confufion by fuch exten- 

Of Engliih terms, that may have been proper enough at the time 
our tranflatlon was made ; but which now feem to convey either a- 
different meaning, or a meaning not quite fo chara<Steriflical as 
others that have been fmce adopted, I fhall content myfelf with giv- 
ing the following, as examples. 

Our tranflators were led to render n^02Nn h}} fJlWrn, Exod. i. i6. 
" And fee them upon the ftools ;" from its being then cuftomary 
to deliver women on a fort of ftool made for the purpofe, and kept 
by the midwife. But, befides that it is extremely doubtful if p^? 
ever fignify a ftool ; that practice being now generally difcontinued 
in Britain f, and the expreflion " upon the ftools," prefenting 
an idea very different from that of delivery^ fhould not the term itfelf 
be changed; or rather another turn given to the fentence, which 

* Of this laft kind of licence, I will jufl: propofe one example: " To divide light 
" from darknefs" has always appeared to me a term not fufficiently proper to exprefs 
the true meaning of 7l!3 in this phrafe. The Latin difiinguo feems much more fuit- 
able. Why then might we not ufe the word dijlinguijh in the fame fignification ? So 
much the rather, becaufe that is really its primitive meaning, although it has gradually 
loft it, and is now feldom ufed but in a metaphorical fenfe. Your Lordfhip's appioba- 
tion would go a great way to embolden me in taking a few fuch licences. See fotne 
fenfible reflexions on this fubjedt in Maty's Review for June 1786. 

t The pra£lice is ftill ufed in Holland and other northern nations ; and even in the 
Royal Lying-in Hofpital of Copenhagen, See Medic. Comment. Vol. IV. 


[ 59 ] 

fliould fufficlently exprefs Its meanlrxg without being liable to future 

Audience formerly fignified the aSl of hearing ; and fo it was ufed 
by Milton ; but as it now feems obfolete in that meaning, (hould 
we not fubftitute hearing in its ftead ; and tranflate Gen. xxv. i o. 
" And Ephron the Hittite anfwered Abraham in the hearing of the 
*' children of Heth ?" 'J'ravail^ too, for labour is become altogether 
obfolete. Yet both Bifhop Newcome and Mr. Blayney have re- 
tained it. " Get you to the mountains — Get you hence — I will 
" get me unto the Great One ;" and fuch-like expreflions appear 
alfo to be juftly going into difufe ; and have moreover an imperious 
and vulo;ar air. 


Ter adventure is a word which we have no occafion for; and 
which is now hardly ever ufed. 

I have, elfewhere, given it as my opinion, that words which wc 
have once fairly adopted from other languages are, for the moft 
part, more noble, more expreflive and difcriminating than our own 
original ones. Thus, I think, to affemble is better than to gather ioge-' 
ther ; convoke than call together, gratuhoujly than freely. 

Meat-offering was never the moft proper term for nniO, but is 

now ftill lefs fo from the more limited acceptation of the %vord 


I 2 To 

[ ^o ] 

To difcover^ or uncover, feems fometimes ufecl in a fenfe which it 
■will hardly bear. Thus Nahum iii. 5 • " I will difcover thy fkirts 
" upon thy face." Or, as Bifliop Newcome renders, " I will uncover 
" thy fkirts before thy face." We cannot, I think, fay with propriety 
to uncover the thing covering, but the thing covered. Some other term, 
therefore, fliould be found to exprefs the Hebrew word n|?J, l?oth 

:^ 1;,"' 

here and in other fimilar places. 

Exalted feems to be improper, when applied to material objects, 
as " Every valley fhall be exalted." Ifaiah xl. 4. 

The word unto feems frequently mifufed in our prefent verfion. 
It has there four different acceptations. For firft, it marks the da- 
tive cafe : " Unto Adam he faid." Secondly, it denotes motion to a 
pkce : " And Mofes went up unto the mountains." Thirdly, it 
precedes the fartheft extreme of local fituatinn : " From the river 
*' of Egypt unto the great river." Fourthly, it is placed before the 
laft period of time : " Since the days of Jofhua unto that day." — 
Now I fhould think that it is proper only in the fecond and third 
examples ; but not in the firft and fourth j where to and until appear 
to be more grammaticaL 

Are the words wherefore^ therefore, whemn, therein, whereof, 
thereof whereby, thereby, whereunto, thereunto, heretofore, theretofore, 
and other fuch-like compounds to be retained ? To be convinced 
that they are not ftridly grammatical, we have only to analyze them, 
for who could bear, for there, for where, in where, in there, of 


[ 6i ] 

where, of there, &c ? And yet I fear we cannot well do without them, 
particularly the two firft. 

The word there is alfo frequently ufed in another manner, the 
propriety of which might be queftioned ; and where indeed it feems 
to be a mere expletive. Thus when we fay, " There was a man 
*' in the land of Hus :" we fay no more than " A man was in the 
" land of Hus." And when we fay, " Let there be light — Let there 
" be a firmament, &c." — We might fay " Let light be — Let a 
*' firmament be" — or even " Be light — Be a firmament." — And in 
the imperative mood we frequently ufe this more regular mode of 
expreffion, efpecially in poetry; but in the indicative, it would 
feem uncouth, and perhaps at firft ridiculous, becaufe our ears are 
not accuftomed to it. 

Some think that the expletives, do, doth, did, are often a beauty, 
in as much as they add a particular emphafis to the expreffion ; and 
your Lordfhip has given countenance to this opinion in your 
Elements of Englifh Grammar. Is it founded in nature ? and would 
not Gen. iii. 13. be as forcibly rendered, " The ferpent beguiled 
" me, and I ate ;" as " The ferpent beguiled me, and I did eat ?" It 
feems ftill more fuperfluous in fuch texts as the following. Gen. vi. 
17. "I do bring a flood of waters upon the earth." Gen. xxvi. 
30. " And he made them a feaft, and they did eat and drink." 
Exod. X. 5. " And they (the locufts) did eat every herb of the field." 
In general, then, would it not be better to reftrid it entirely to ne- 

[ 62 ] 

gative fentences ; or at moft to extend it to a concefllon or ftrong 
affirmation ? Thus, Jofhua ii. 4. might be rendered " There did 
come men unto me." And Gen. xviii. 15. is very properly " Nay, 
" but thou didft laugh." 

Is the expreflion " to take to wife" reconcileable with any rules 
of grammar or analogy? And, if not, how are we to tranflate 
HK^nS Bph ? Dr. Goflet fuggefls " to take for a wife," as he thinks 
to marry would hardly be endured ; yet our tranflators have ufed 
it in 2 Chron. xiii. 2. where they render nia^^r V^IN D^K^i l'? iiV'>\ 
*' and married fourteen wives." See alfoGen. xix. 14. Num. xii. i. 
and I Chron. ii. 21. 

If we at all retain the word befeech^ fhould not the preterite be- 
fought be at leaft exploded ; and bejeeched ufed inflead of it ? 

Our tranflators, for the moft part, carefully diftinguifhed the no- 
minative plural j'f from the accufative _)'<?«; fhould not due regard be 
ftill paid to this diftindion, in fpite of the propenfity of our prefent 
writers to negledt it ? Would you not alfo retain the termination eth 
in the third perfon fmgular of the indicative mood ? 

I would, alfo, fain perfuade myfelf, that we fhould not confound 
nor ufe indifcriminately, the terms lo and behold. The former I 
would employ, when there is nothing in the narrative immedi- 
ately pointed at ; the latter, when fome objed is indicated as pre- 

[ 63 ] 

fent. Thus I would fay, " Behold the man — Behold the Lamb of 
" God :" but " Lo ! I bring a deluge — Lo ! it was Leah — Lo ! it be- 
" came a ferpent." So that Lo may be always confidered as a mere 
interjedion ; Behold as the imperative of a verb. Is this diftindtion 
more than ideal* ? 

The definite article the feems to be often inferted where it fhould 
not be inferted. Thus Gen. i. 6. " God faid ; let there be a fir- 
mament } and let it divide the waters from the waters:" It fhould 
be " Waters from waters," as our older tranflators have it. Deut. 
XX. 5, 6. " Left he die in the battle," {hould be " Left he die in 
" battle;" and fo they have it in the next verfe. On the other hand, 
they have omitted it where it fhould not be omitted. Thus Ecclef. 
xxii. 6. " But ftripes and correction of wifdom," fhould be " The 
ftripes and corredlion, &c." Nor is this omifTion always of fmall 
moment. A notable example occurs, Rom. ii. 12. where the omif^ 
fion of the article not only marsf the meaning, but gives an air of 

* This interjection, fo extremely frequent in the Hebrew writings, is fometimes 
rendered by the ancients, efpecially by St. Jerom, by an equivalent term. Thus 
Gen xxix, 25. for TWilh N\~l H^ni "^pDD TT'I, the Vulgate has " fafto mane 
vUit Liam." And Syr. >n N"**?! N?m Nlfl^ NIH IDT; and when the morning came, 
and he faw that it was Lia, &c. This licence, I think, may be occafionally ufed, 
particularly when the interjeftion is repeated in the fentence j and thereby embar- 
rafies it. Sometimes a tranfpofition will have the fame good effed ; and fometimes 
it may be accounted a pleonafm, and omitted. 

t According to Johnfon tljis word is obfolete. But why is it obfolete? I: was 
ufed by Shalcefpeare, Milton, Waller, andDryden; is a Teutonic, nay a Hebrew 
radical word ; and even in its found more expreffive of the meaning than any of its 
fubllitutes. Let us not always be biafled by ufage or authority. 


[ 64 ] 

impiety to the paffage: " For as many as have fmned without law, 
" fhall alfo perifh without law." This omiflion is the more re- 
markable, as in the counterpart of the fame verfe the article is pro- 
perly reftored : " And as many as have fmned in the law, fhall be 
" judged by the law:" that is, the law of Mofes. 

Your Lordfhip's authority has greatly contributed towards leftor- 
ing the conjundlive mood to its original place, after the hypothe- 
tical particles if, though, tinlefs, except, &c. and, confidering how 
little variety of termination our verbs have, I would by no means 
difpoflefs it of its juft claim. But thofe particles are not always 
hypothetical ; and, therefore, to join them always with the fub- 
jundive (as many writers, who wifh to be thought more than com- 
monly corred, affed to do) feems to be an impropriety. I would, 
with your Lordfhip, make this diftindlon. When the phrafe is 
evidently conditional, expreffing a doubt or depending on a con- 
tingency, the fubjundive fhould ever be ufed : but when a con- 
cefTion, which is equivalent to an affirmation, is included in the fen- 
tence, I would uniformly ufe the indicative. If this obfervation be 
allowed to be juft, it is plain that its application will be of great 

There is nothing, I believe, in our language more undetermined 
than the ufe of the infeparable prepofitions in and tin. The former 
is evidently borrowed from the Latin j and, in many inftances, re- 

[ 65 ] 

tains with us its Latin intenfive fignification : whereas the latter is 
of Saxon origin, and is always a privative. Since then we are pof- 
fefled of a privative prefix of our own ftock, and fince it is 
perfeftly fufficient for the purpofe, it may be pertinently afked, 
why we (hould not exclufively employ it to denote privation ; and 
confine the other to fuch words only, as being derived from the Ro- 
man tongue, ftill retain their intenfive meaning in ours* ? It will be 
faid, perhaps, that although this rule be eftabllfhed on principles 
of general analogy, it muft ncceflarily be liable to many excep- 
tions. When the prefix coalefces with a word of which the initial 
is an /, an ;?/, a ^, or an r, euphony has introduced the ufage of 
changing the n of the prepofition into one of thofe letters : now it 
would be extremely harfh and uncouth to read and write ullegible, 
umineafurable, urrejijlible^ &c. That fuch a pronunciation and 
orthography would, at firft, appear harlh to the unaccuftomed ear, 
and ftrange to the unaccuftomed eye, I readily grant ; yet there is, 
in reality, no more harfhnefs nor oddity in tdleglble than in ntilllty, 
in ummcafurahk than in mummery^ in urremed'uible than in currency. 
But there is no need for introducing this novel form; feeing we 
have already fuch a multitude of words in which the n retains its own 
fhape and found, in words beginning with the forementioned let- 
ters ; without our perceiving any degree of cacophony or incongruity. 

* Examples : 'infrigilcl!, infufcatiy ingemii:ati^ imincrge, he. But this difference 
is better illuftrated by contraft : incarcerate and uncarcerate j inchain and unchain ; 
infold and unfold, &C. 

K For 

[ 66 ] 

For furely we may fay and write unkgibk as well as unlearned, un- 
lettered, unWidinous \ tmmeafureable ^^vidliLi unmerciful ; and unreme- 
d'tahle as well as unrebuked. And was not Shakefpeare's unreconcile- 
able (Anth. and Cleop. Ad v. Sc. i.) more proper and as harmonious 
as our irreconcileable f I wifh our profefled grammarians would take 
this matter into confideration, and give us fome confiftent princi- 
ples to be guided by. 

I have obferved a mode of phrafing, that now feems to prevail ; 
which, neverthelefs, I am apt to confider as a real folecifm. It is 
to fupprefs the little word it in fuch fentences as the following : 
" Now that this of the two is the better glofs, // is proved by your 
'* own interrogation." So Chillingworth, and the writers of his 
time ; but our moderns would, in imitation of the Latins, make the 
firft part of the fentence the nominative to the verb ; and write, 
** That this of the two is the better glofs, is proved, &c.'* Change 
only the order thus : " Now it is proved that, &c." and the neceC- 
fity of retaining the it will be manifeft. 

Another ftill greater impropriety feems to be creeping in upon us, 
from our French neighbours ; and is already found in writers of 
repute. It confifts in beginning a fentence with an infulated no- 
minative, which has no correfponding verb; as, " Born a poet, verfes 
4 " coft 

[ 67 ] 

" coft him nothing. — Irafcible beyond credibility, the fmalleft con- 
" tradition put him in a paflion." I know not if there be any 
thing more oppofite to the genius of our language than fuch a con- 

Notwithftanding all that has been written by our moft recent 
grammarians about Jlmll and w/7/, would and JJjould^ it does not ap- 
pear to me that there are yet any criteria eftablifhed to dired us in 
the ufe of them. Your Lordfhip has jiiftly obferved that our an- 
ceftors, even as late as the reigns of James and the Charlefes, re- 
fpedlively employed them in a different manner from that of the 
prefent time ; and I cannot help thinking that the ufage of our an- 
ceftors was, in fome regard, preferable to ours. 

In disjuniflive fentences, fhould we ufe or or fior after not and nei- 
ther ? The nature of negatives feems to require nor-, yet I have fre- 
quently obferved, even in thofe writers who affume to themfelves 
the peculiar province of corredtors general of ftile and grammar 
fuch expreffions as thefe : " Neither he or any one elfe. — Neither the 
" one or the other of thefe aflertions, &c." To me this appears un- 

* This cannot be called the cafe abfolute ; becaufe the fubjell is the fame in both 
parts of the fentence ; and the predicate and the fubjed muft necefTarily be in the 
fame cafe. 

K 2 One 

[ ^^ 1 

One query ftill remains about the orthography of proper names. 
Our firft tranflators of the Bible, Tindal and Coverdale, retained 
the old pronunciation of the proper names, fuch as they found it in 
the Greek and Latin verfions, with Uttle variation and few ex- 
.ceptions. Thus they wrote Heva, Noe^ Jared, Mathujala^ Nemrod, 
Ni»eve, Cades, Cades-Barne, Berfabe, Boo%, Ifa'i, Elizeus, Salomon, 
j^ggeus, Ofeas. In fome inftances, they followed the French form ; 
Efaye, Jeremie, Zachary, Ahdy, Sophony, &c. Sometimes they adopted 
the Maforetic mode of pronunciation ; as Zoar, Serug, Terah, Peleg, 
&c. A farther approximation to this laft form was made in Cran- 
mer's and Parker's Bibles ; particularly in thofe names that were lefs 
knov/n, and confequently lefs apt to ftrike or furprife the people 
by a new found, while the more celebrated were retained in their 
old orthography. But the Engliih refugees at Geneva, taking the 
French Calvinifls for their model, fcrupuloufly adhered to the Mafo- 
retic punctuation, in their expreffion of the proper names, and as 
much as pofBble to the literal founds of the Hebrew alphabet, fuch 
as modern grammarians exhibit them. James's tranflators generally 
adopted their plan, but with many modifications, either to avoid 
cacophony, or not to deviate too widely from the founds to which 
the people had been fo long accuflomed. They did not, therefore, 
write Meihufael, Sheth, EnoJ}}, Shem, I%hak, Jaakob, Rebekah, Rahel^ 
"Nappon, &c. Yet, in general, they followed the Geneva plan, both 
in this and moft other particulars ; as may be feen by any one who 

fhall take the trouble to compare them. 


L 69 1 

Since that period little innovation has been attempted In the 
Hebrew names, except by Bate, with whom Henoch is Heme, Jared 
Oirad, Adah Odeh, Zillah yilleh. Ems Aiwjli, Chenaan Canon, Lot 
Luthy Zoar or Segor Juar, Kphron Oprun, yudah Jeudeh, Aaron 
Aorun, Zadok Jaduk, Bethel Bith-al, &c. &c. Uncouth as this 
orthography may feem to be, it was, not without fome fpecious rea- 
fons, adopted by Bate. He wifhed to exprefs, as nearly as pofTible, 
what he took to be the genuine original powers of each Hebrew 
letter, defpifing not only the Maforetic pronunciation, but alfo that 
of the moft ancient interpreters, who lived at a time when the 
Hebrew was yet a fpoken language. Now he fhould have, In this 
refpeft, defpifed neither the one nor the other ; but either have re- 
tained the proper names as he found them in the common verfion, 
or at leaft corre<n:ed them on better authority than his own capri- 
cious ideas. 

Is it unexpedient then to make any change at all in the prefent 
orthography of the Hebrew proper names ? I fay not that ; 
but I think the change fhould be natural, analogical, and founded 
on orthography, reafon, or ancient authority. It were certainly 
to be wifhed that every name could be fo written in a verfion, 
as to be diftinguifhed even by its found, and exprefs, as nearly 
as poffible, the powers of the Hebrew elements that compofe it ; 
and this has been more or lefs attempted by the mofl wary and 


'[ 70 ] 

cautious tranflators. But then the names muft not, even for this 
analogical difcrimination, be fo ftrangely metamorphofed, as not to 
be known again for the fame. This indeed will rarely happen, 
if we do not give a new pronunciaton to the vowel founds ; I mean 
the real vowels K- H- V *>• ]}■ and their feveral combinations. Of all 
thefe, as it is impoflible to know precifely their various powers 
in the mouth of an ancient Jew, the bell we can do is to found 
them as they have been handed down to us, whether by the ancient 
interpreters or Jewifh grammarians ; no great matter which. Thus 
though avh? would feem, if I pronounce each letter feparate, to 
be expreffed by Aiub (and fo Bate would probaby have written it) 
yet I will continue to call it Job, or at leaft lob ; becaufe I find all 
the ancients fo exprefs it ; and becaufe in reality there is nothing 
uncommon in thofe letters taking that found. In fad, if we pro- 
nounce / in Job as we do in lamhlcks^ we fhall give it the very 
found which the Italians give to ai; and if we pronounce the o as 
our fhort, it will not differ from u fhort. Were our proper name 
George to be treated by an Oriental as we treat the Oriental names, 
and expreffed in thefe letters HilJ^nj, it would be fo altered as not 
to retain a fingle found of the original, excepting that of r. 

I am therefore of opinion, that we fhould retain the old names 
with as little variation as poffible. The only innovations I would 
propofe are the following : The H I would always exprefs by h\ the 
D by ch \ the p by ^ or ^ ; the tl^ byyZ' ; the \ by z; and the tj by /j, 


• [ 71 ] 

or z with a point above it. This would be fufficient to dillinguilh 
the funilar confonant founds. And as the b at the end of proper 
names ending with H is ufelefs, I would only retain it to diflinguifh 
mafculines from feminines, as Judah from Debora^ &c. 

Before I leave the fubje£l of proper names, I muft obferve, that 
we are now fo accuftomed to place the definite article before thofe 
of rivers and mountains, that they look, fomehow, naked without 
it. Yet this mode has not yet, I believe, been introduced into any 
Englifti verfion ; and it would, perhaps, be by fome accounted a 
blameable innovation to write " The Euphrates, The Nile, The 
" Jordan, The Chobar, The Lebanon, The Carmel, The Thabor, &c." 
Perhaps we fhould make a diftindlion. When the name mentioned 
is not attended with its appellative rivety and is the nominative or 
objedive of a verb, the article fhould be prefixed ; but when river 
is immediately joined to it, or when it is in concord or regimen with 
another noun, the article fhould not be prefixed. 

The orthogi-aphy of a proper name being once fixt upon, it ihould 
be retained throughout the whole Bible, both in the Old and New 
Teftament ; although there may be a variety of lettering it in the 
originals. Sec Bifliop Newcome's Preface to the Minor Prophets, 
p. XXXV i. 


[ T- ] 

With regard to fuch expreflions in the original Scriptures as, 
if tranflated literally, would offer to the mind of the delicate and 
pious reader offenfive images ; I make no doubt but your Lord- 
fhip will agree with me, that they ought to be accommodated to 
our times and manners, and rendered with more freedom than any 
other paffages. Exemplification here is unneceffary. But I (hould 
be glad to know, whether in this clafs your Lordfliip would include 
fuch phrafes as the following, int^N Vy^^ XKh\< N2, nom nx nnD- 

csmntfioS^, &c. 

Thefe, my Lord, ai-e a part of the principal doubts and dif- 
ficulties that have occafionally prefented themfelves during the 
courfe of my prefent labours. I lay them before your Lordfhip 
with all that confidence which your former encouraging coun- 
tenance fo naturally infpires. If health and leifure fhall allow 
you but to glance them over, I am perfuaded that a great por- 
tion of the mill will he diflipated by fo clear and keen a ray. 
I wifli not to give your Lordfhip the trouble of writing long re- 
marks. The fhorteft hint of approbation or the contrary; a 
fingle yes or no on the oppofite page, relative to any query I 
have put, or opinion I have ventured to give, will be a fufficient 
indication of your fentiment, and go a great way to make me 
cherllh or abandon my own. Before next Michaelmas I hope to have 


I 73 1 

the honour of fubmkting to your perufal a whole volume of ray 
tranflation. How happy (hall I efteem myfelf, if it fhould have the 
good fortune to merit the fame flattering approbation you were fo 
kind as to exprefs of my Profpeilus. Whether that be in my fate, 
or not, I eagerly feixe this opportunity of teftifying to the 
Public, with what retpeO. and veneration I have the honour 
to be, 


Your Lordship's 

Much obliged. 

And moft obedient, 
Humble Servant, 

A. G E D D E S. 

January 15, 1787. 


[ 7S ] 


JcL V E R ready to own and redify my miftakes, to fupply omif- 
fions, or to anfwer rational queries, I take this occafion to make the 
following additions to my Prospectus which was lately publifhed ; and 
in which I am forry to find more typographical and other errors, than, on 
too flight a reading over of the fheets as they came from the prefs, I had 
occafionally obferved. 

Page 2, line 5, after agreed upon, add what follows : 

A late ingenious EfTayift* has, indeed, given it as his opinion, that a 
new tranflation of the Bible is not only unnecefTary, but even dangerous, 
nay extremely dangerous ; and that, inftead of ferving the caufe of religion, 
it would tend to hurt it : and a more recent writer, of no common abili- 
ties, in the Monthly Review, has adopted and enforced the fame fenti- 
ment. It may not therefore be improper to hear, and fairly appretiate, their 

* Knox's Effays, Vol. I. No. 49. 

L 2 In 

[ 7^ 1 

In the filft place, the " venerable antiquity" of our prefent public verfion 
is urged as a reafon fufficient for retaining it, with all its faults. — This, in 
the mouth of a Proteftant, feems to be an odd fort of argument. If a 
Romanifl had ufed it in favour of his Vulgate, he would be inftantly told, 
" That no age nor prefcription can authorize error ; and that it is obftinac}' 
" to defend in any verfion, however ancient or venerable, what cannot be 
" rationally defended." In fa6t, the lapfe of thirteen centuries has given no 
more real value to the Vulgate, than it had when it firft appeared ; nor is 
our prefent public verfion more eftimable now dian it was an hundred and 
feventy-fix years ago. If time could enhance the value of a tranflation, 
Tyndal's would be preferable to James's ; for it can boaft at leaft two 
hundred and fifty years, and a part of it two hundred and fixty. And 
old Wicliff might fliake his hoary locks, and fay, " I have a much 
" better claim than either." 

But it is further urged, " That independently of age, and the air of 
" veneration which it has thence acquired, our prefent verfion ought to 
** be retained for its intrinfic beauty and excellence. The language, 
" though it is fimple and natural, is rich and exprefllve. The poetical 
*' paffages of Scripture are peculiarly pleafing. The tranflation of the 
" Pfalms abounds with paffages exquifitely beautiful. Even where the 
" fenfe is not very clear, nor the connexion of ideas at firft fight obvious, 
" the mind is foothed, and the ear ravifhed, with the powerful yet unaffefted 
" charms of the ftyle, &c." 

Although this panegyric be fomewhat cutre, I am willing to fubfcribe to 
it. But all thofc beauties, in an equal degree, and fome of them even in 
a greater degree, are found in our firft verfions, and muft be more or lefs 
found in every verfion of the Hebrew fcriptures that is not a mere para- 
phiafe. The great merit of James's tranflators did not certainly confift in 
beautifying or meliorating the ftyle of the former verfions, but in corredl- 
ing their errors, and making a verfion more ftriftly conformable to the 
letter, not always the fpirit, of their fuppofed indefedible originals. Their 


[ 11 ] 

fidelity and accuracy dcferve giFcat commendation ; and that is almoil; all 
they have a jufl claim to. The ftyle they found in their prototype ; and 
the ditflion and phrafeology they borrowed from their predeceflbrs in tranf- 
lation : and it was well that they had fuch models ; for their own preface 
evinces that their tafte was none of the beft. We have indeed fome diffi- 
culty to believe that it could be written by the fame perfons. 

What is btautiful, what i% excellent, what is melodious and ravijhing in the 
prefent verfion, Ihould be undoubtedly retained by all future tranflators ; 
but is there any reafon for retaining its corruptions, its mif-tranflations, its 
obfcurities, and its other acknowledged impcrfeftions ? I fcarcely think, 
that its mofl partial admirer will contend for this. The judgment made 
by Mr. Knox, from a comparifon of a late verfion of Ifaiah with that of the 
public tranflation, is not altogether jufl. He fhould have confidered, 
that the intention of the learned Prelate, in giving that verfion, was to 
exhibit a fpecimen of Hebrew metre, clothed in a correfponding Englilh 
drefs, and reprefenting as nearly as poffible the meafure, the conftrudtion, 
the air, and complexion of the original. From this, and from the novel 
and awkward appearance of fo many unequal and unmeafured Englifli 
lines, and the many unnatural breaks and unexpaflcd paufes that thence 
enfue, it frequently happens, 1 confefs, that the old tranflation is more 
pleafant to read ; the order and arrangement, too, appear often to be 
more harmonious ; and fometimes, though rarely, the terms feeni more 
properly chofen. But how fully is all this compenfated by the clearnefs, 
precifion, and energy of the Bifhop's verfion, and the many correftions 
of a faulty or mif-tranflated text ? Lei this \ erfion be taken out of its 
prefent form, and divided and arranged like plain poetical profe ; 
and the leaft intelligent reader will, I think, be ftaick with the diffe- 

But the moft fpecious objcAion is derived from the danger of fcanda- 
Uzing the Chriftian people, and weakening their faith, by prefenting thenv 


[ 78 ] 

•with a new or improved verfionof the Scriptures. " We have received the 
*' Bible" (fays the fame amiable writer) " in the very words in which it now 
*' ftands, from our fathers ; we have learned many paflages of it by heart 
*' in our infancy; we find it quoted in fermons from the earheft to the 
*' lateft times, fo that its phrafe is become familiar to our ear, and we 
<« ceafe to be ftartled at apparent difficulties. Let all this be called pre- 
" judice, but it is a prejudice which univerfally prevails in the middle 
<' and lower ranks; and we (hould hardly recognize the Bible, were it to 
*' be read in our churches in any other words than thofe which our fathers 
«' have heard before us." — Again, " If the leflbns of the Church were 
*' to be read in different' words from thofe which they have heard from 
" their infancy, their faith might be more endangered than by all the argu- 
*' ments of the Deifts." 

This is an old objedion * ; it was made by St. Auguftine to St. Jerom. 
The people of that day, who had received from their fathers the Bible in 
the words of the old Italic tranflation, were aftonilhed, and fome of them 
fcandalized, on hearing the new verfion read in the churches ; and a cer- 
tain African Bilhop raifed a tumult in his congregation, by fubftituting he- 
dera for cucurbita in the fourth chapter of Jonah. 

Whether any of our good people would be as zealous for the word 
gourd, experience only can decide ; but if fuch ill-founded prejudices really 
exifl among them, it is the fault of their teachers; and their teachers 
fliould ferioufly labour to remove them. The people fliould be taught 
(for they are not indocil) that it is to the meaning, and not the words, of 
Scripture — to the fenfe, not the found, that they ought to attend — That a 

It is worth remarking, that objeftions of the fame nature have been made againft tranfla- 
ting the Scriptures at all. " A number of pious but weak Chriftians will be fcandalized, 
" will have their faith fliaken, will be perverted to herefy ; therefore let the Scriptures rc- 
'■'■ main locked up from them, to prevent thefe evils." 

4 tranffa- 

C 79 ] 

translation of the Bible, like all other tranflations, is fufceptible of further 
and further improvement — That the languages in which the Scriptures were 
originally written, are now better underftood than when the laft tranflation 
was made — That the originals themfelves have, by the diligence and la- 
bours of the learned, been reftored more nearly to their firft integrity — and 
that, by thefe means, a number of difficult paflages may be illuftrated, 
obfcurities removed, objedions obviated ; and the Divine oracles made 
more intelligible to every capacity. All this the people have a right to 
know ; and, knowing all this, they will not only be not averfe to a new 
tranflation, but expert it with eagernefs, and receive it with pleafure ; with 
a pleafure proportioned to their zeal and devotion. For as to that clafs of 
devotees, if fuch there be, who believe that our prefent verfion was written 
with the finger of the Almighty ; and that to alter a tittle of it, is to be guilty 
of blafphemy, it would be worfe than weak to encourage their prejudices ; 
it would be to abet a real blafphemy, for fear of incurring, in their extrava- 
gant ideas, the imputation of an imaginary one. 

The truth is, as far as I have been able to learn, that the people in 
general are fufficiently fenfible o( the expediency of a new verfion, or a 
thorough revifal of the old one. There are few, even of the loweft clafs, 
who have not heard of the imperfedlions of the public verfion; our preach- 
ers are conftantly correfting particular paflages in it. Bible-hiftories and 
Family-expofitors, without number, are difperfed all over the kingdom, 
in which many mif-tranflations are corrected, or pretended to be fo ; and 
yet the people read them with avidity, and even with enthufiafin. In 
fliort, the prejudices of the people againft an improved verfion either do 
not exift at all, or are fuch as may be eafily removed, or deferve not to 
be regarded *. Indeed if the above objeftions had come from, writers lefs 

refpeftable, I fhould have paid no attention to them. 


* That the prejudices of the people are not fo ftrong as Mr. Knox feems to think, and 
that they are not fo eafily fcandiilized on hearing the Scriptures read in words different from 


[ 8o ] 

Taking it for granted, then, that a new, or at leaft an improved verfion 
of the Scriptures is wanting, and wanted ; it is my intention, in tlus Pro- 
fpeftus, to explore, &c. 

Page 5. 1. laft, inculcate to; I ara not fure but it fliould be incul- 
cate on. 

Page 8. 1. 15. The word unclinch has been objcifled to as inelegant,' I fear 
it is alfo improper ; perhaps undo might be fubftituted.— In the note of the 
fame page, for averjion, read an averfion. 

Page 10. 1. 16. for lafi, read latter. 

Page 13. 1. 26. for exculpating them of, read exculpating them from. 

Page 16. 1. 20. for is, read be. 

Page 18. 1. 20. for that they could, read // they could. 

Page 20. reform the note thus — Three volumes of this work are now 
(1786) publiflied. The firft, befide a fenfiblc preface. Canons, and Clavis 
or catalogue of the MSS. ufed by the author, contains various readings on 
Genefis, Exodus, and Leviticus^ — the fecond carries them to the end of 
Kings — the third contains the Prophets and Megilloth — and the fourth, 
which is now in the prefs, will contain the reft. It were to be wifhed that 
De Roffi had been lefs fparing of his various ledtions ; for he has only 
given thofe which he deemed of importance : whereas we want to know 
the real ftate of his MSS. and thence to judge for ourfelves what readings 
are important, what not, 

' the prefent tranflation, we have a daily and flagrant proof before our eyes ; and that too 
with refpeft to a part of Scripture that is more frequently read and repeated than any other. 
The words, and even the ftyle of the Pfalms, in the book of Common Prayer, are more 
different from thofe in the Bible, than they can well be in any improved tranflation ; nay, 
the very Decalogue itfelf is exprefled in different terms ; and yet I never heard that any one 
was fcandalized at this difference, or in either did not recognize the Bible. The Bible mull 
"be fadly traveftied indeed, in a tranflation, before it ceafe to be recognizable. 


[ 8i 1 

Page 29. for Hexapla, read Pclypla. 

Page 32. 1. 22. read Jeptuaginta. 

Page 34. laft line, for ?«/«5r /lo^/j, read minor prophets^ 

Page 35. 1 have too rafhly adopted the general prejudice, that the editors 
of the Complutenfian Polyglott did not, in their edition of the Septuagint, 
adhere to their MSS. I am at prefent of a different opiiiion; which, 
I truft, I fhall be able to eflablini on the ftrongeft intrinfic evidence. 

Page 37. 1. 13. after fmall o5lavo, add, and laftly at Leipfick, 
by Reineccius, in 1757, on a fmall but elegant type, in 8vo. ; with 
fele(fl various readings from the Alexandrian copy. 

Page 40. 1. 10. after completed^ add. It is hoped the learned editor 
wUl be requefted and encouraged to give the reft of this ancient MS. in 
the fame form. — Ibid, in the next note, Borgia is called by miftake pre- 
fe£l of the propaganda ; it fhould be Jecretary. 

Page 44. 1. 2 1 . for Dominican friars, read Augtiftinian friars. 

Page 48. 1. 10. for paraphrafe, read theloojeji paraphra/e ; and add, in a 
note — As an example of this, take Gen. xlvii. 26. Ex eo tempore ujque in 
prefentem diem, in univerfa terra Egypti, regibus quinta pars Jolvitur ; et fac- 
tum eft quafi in legem ; abfque terra facerdotali, qua libera ab hac conditions 
fuit. Compare this with the original. 

Page 57. 1. 19. add, Indeed fuch emendations are, ftridly fpeaking, more 
than conjecture. They arife from a fort of intrinfic evidence, of the ne- 
gative kind at leaft, which often is fufficient to exclude all fort of doubt, 
and almoft always to force a rational aflent. 

M Page 

[ 82 ] 

Page 6 1 . I had ventured to ufe the word vocable. Some have approved 
of it, as a term we wanted ; others have objefted to it, as an innova- 


Page 75. 1. I. for was, read is ; and page 79. line lafl, read — ^was repub- 
liflied at Leipfick, with the Hebrew text, in two volumes in quarto, in 

Page 82. 1. 15. for we are, read / am. 

Page 94. 1. 4. after text, add, A ftriking example occurs, Exod. xxxii. 
18, where there are no lefs than eleven words in Italics, which not only 
give no force to the paflage, but prefent a falfe idea ; for who would not 
think, on reading it, that the words Jhout, cry, fmg, correfponded to Ip many- 
plural participles, and were equivalent to fljouters, criers, fingers ? See the 
place, and compare it with the original. 

Page 98. 1. 5. I have ufed the word forces in a meaning hardly admiffible 
in EngliQi ; read therefore Jlrength or abilities. 

Page 99. 1. 2. Add, Mr. Dawfon has Cnce publiflaed the fixth and 
eleven following chapters of Genefis, on the fame plan. 

Page 1 00. 1. 9. after merit, add, Particularly an anonymous one, printed 
for Millar in 1751 ; and that of Dr. Hodgfon, jull now publiflied. Ibid, in 
the note, add, and the lafl number (No; IV.) contains more good remarks on 
particular paffages, from Genefis to the Proverbs inclufively, than any work 
of the fame fize in our language. 

Page 102. 1. 3. " The fynod of Thouloufe is called a diocefan fynod:" 
this is an overfight ; it was certainly a provincial fynod : and the following 
is the odious conftitution alluded to : Prohibemus etiam, 7ie libros Veteris 
Teflamenti aut Novi Laid permittantur habere: nifi forte Pfalterium vel 
Breviarium pro divinis ojiciis, aut Horas B. Maria ali^uis ex devotione 


[ 83 ] 

habere velit ; fed ne pramijfos libros habeant in vulgari tranjlatos, arEliJfxmi 
vihibemus. Concil. Tholofan. cap. xiv. — It is worth remarking, that this 
fame Council feem to have been the fiifl authors of a rehgious Inquifuion. 
See Capitula, i, z, 3, 4, 5, 6, &c. apud Labbe, tom. xi. p. 427. 

Page 109. 1. laft, add, WichfF's tranflation of the New Teftament was 
piibHihed by Lewis, in folio, in 1731. His prefs- copy was collated with 
ten MSS. the principal various readings of which are marked Iq the mar- 
gin. Befide the manufcripts of Wicliff's verfion, at Cambridge, Oxford, 
and in the Britifh Mufeum, there is a beautiful copy of the New Teftament 
in the Advocates Library at Edinburgh ; and one of the feven Catholic 
Epiftles in the Univerfity Library of Glafgow. 

Page 1 13. 1. 13. Reform the whole paflage thus : The Abbe du Contant 
de la Molette has, fince the year 1777, publilhed the following works on 
the Holy Scripture: La Geneje Expliqiie, 3 vol. 12 mo. UExcde Expliquc, 
3 vol. Le Levitique Explique, 2 vol. Les Pfeaimes Expliquh, 3 vol. In all 
which works, though he has retained Calmet's verfion made from the Vul- 
gate, he is continually correcting it either by the Hebrew text, or by the 
other ancient verfions ; and Co far his work may be accounted a tranflation 
from the originals. The Journal dcs S^avans of lall year announces two 
new French verfions of the Pfalms; one in eight vol. i2mo. by Bertliier, 
the other in two vol. by Bauduer, both faid to be eflimable works j and of 
which the latter is immediately made from the Hebrew. 

Page 125. 1. 24. in the note, efface Durell; he Ihould not have been 
placed in fuch company. 

Page 128.1. 2S.r&a.d energetic. 

Thefe are the moft important corredlions and alterations that now it ocau's 
to make. There are many other little inaccuracies of lefs note ; particularly 
in the orthography of proper names, which tie printer has ftrangely meta- 

M 2 morphofed. 

C 84 3 

morpliofed, but wliich the learned reader is requefted to correft thus : 
Amama, Doederlein, Oujeel, Maldenhauer, Villoijon, Men'wjki, Semkr^ 
Bjornjihal, &c. 

I have now only to return my hearty thanks to thofe gentlemen, who, 
fmce the publication of my Profpeftus, have favoured me with their friendly 
advice and affiftance in the profecution of my arduous undertaking; and to 
anfwer fuch queries as have been made to me by anonymous correfpon- 
dents, to whom I knew not how, otherwife, to dired an anfwer. 

To Sir William Jones, of Ramfbury, Bart. I am indebted for the early 
communication of a manufcript commentary on the whole Bible ; in which, 
although there be not much criticifm, there is a great deal of good fenfe, 
and many pertinent reflections. 

Mr. Bradley, of Oxford, befide fcveral excellent remarks on particular 
paflages of Scripture, has favoured me with a complete verfion of Jeremiah; 
of which he will fee, in due time, that I have profited. 

Mr. Winftanley, and Mr. Croft, of the fame place, will permit me to 
acknowledge my rcfpcaivc obligations to them. 

Mr. Dimock, of Gloucefter, has fent me his very judicious obferva- 
tions on a great part of the Bible ; accompanied with fuch expreflions of 
friendftiip as I can never forget. 

To the politenefs of Colonel Vallancey I owe fome curious obferva- 
tions, and the difcovery of a valuable fragment of the Greek verfion of 
Ifaiah, kept in the library of the Univer£ty of Dublin. 

From fome other gentlemen, who have not chofen to let themfelves 
be known, I have jeceived fonoe ufeful hints which fhall be duly attend- 

■ed «o, 


{^5 1 

The plan of a Commentary, fuggefted by Erafmus, from Dublin, would 
be an excellent one for a profeffed commentator ; as far as a mere tranf- 
lator is concerned, he will find tliat I have followed it. 

T. B. and a Protejtant Divine (whom I have fince found to be a re- 
fpeclable clergyman of the church of Scotland) feem furprifed at the libe- 
rality of fentiment that pervades my Profpe5ius ; but ftill have their fufpi- 
cions, that a profeffed Catholic cannot be an impartial translator of the 
Scriptures. At this I am not aftonilhed. I know many Catholics, who 
entertain fufpicions equally unfavourable with regard to Proteftants : and 
perhaps there are few, on either fide, who are entiixly diverted of fuch 
prejudices. I have profeffed no more, in that refpeft, than what, 1 truft. 
1 fhall be able to perform ; only let not my caufe be prejudged. 

Another gentleman, who affumes the name of Origen, is afraid that I am 
about to facrifice the interefts of Mother Church, by expofing the faults of 
a verfion which fhe holds in fuch high eftimation, and which the Council 
of Trent has declared to be authentic Scripture. To this I anfwer, that 
as I will by no means affedl to conceal the faukb uf the Vulgate, fo nei- 
ther will I affect to expofe them. I will give the beft tranflation I can of 
what I take to "be the moft genuine copy of the originals, without mind- 
ing how much it may differ from any verfion whatfoever. If this, and 
what I have faid in my ProJpeSlus, p. 104, be not fufEcient to allay 
Origen'% fears, I muft leave them to be difpelled by time and re-con- 

To the writer of a card, recommending the perufal of Wakefield's En- 
quiry , I have to fay, that I have carefully perufed it; and that the plea- 
fure I received from that perufal would have been much greater, if the 
author had enforced his favourite fyftem with lefs violence. 

4 From 

[ So ] - 

From feveral perfons I have received advices about the occonomy of 
my work. One counfels me to make my verfion as fbidly literal as poffi- 
ble ; another, to make it perfedlly free. The former fays I fliould retain 
all the Hebraifms, however uncouth and obfcure they may feem ; the latter 
is for retaining not one of them. It would be impoflible for me to follow 
both thefe counfels, and therefore I fliall follow neither. 

A Northumberland correfpondent hopes I will not omit to infert Canne's 
marginal references. This I can by no means comply with : a great num- 
ber of Canne's references are chimerical, and ferve only to ci-owd the 
page, and bewilder the reader. But I will infert fuch references, as I think 
real and ufeful ones ; and confequently retain the greater part of thofe 
that are in the margins of the bell editions of our prefent public verlion. 

I am afked by Philohiblos, if I mean not to give a fmall edition without 
the critical notes, for the ufe of thofe who may not be able to purchafe tire 
large one ? Alas ! I know not yet what encouragement I may have to 
give ON E edition. When I fliall have publifned my Propjals (which will 
be next winter) and feen how they arc icliflicd, it will then be time enough 
to think of extending my plan. 

' The Critical Reviewers (Jan. 1787) may indeed "reft fecure," that 
as little deviation as poffible will be made from the langxiage of the prefent 
Terfion ; to which, in fafl, my tranflation, at every new touch, more and 
more approximates. 

In fetting about to tranfcribe my MS. for the prefs, I find fome diffi- 
culty in fixing upon the moft proper difti-ibution of the page j and fliould 
be glad to have the opinion of the learned on that head. For example, 
fhould the various readings and renderings be feparated from the explana- 

[ 87 1 

tory notes, or mixed wicli them in the order in which they occur? Should 
either, or both, be printed in columns ? Should every note begin a new 
line for the fake of diftindion ; or be feparated only by a dafh for the fake 
of fparing paper ? 

Some of my learned fnends are for having the explanatory notes only at 
the bottom of the page ; and for throwing all the reft among the critical re- 
marks; leaving only in the text the refpedive fymbols of addition, fubtrac- 
tion, corredtion, or variation. This would certainly fave me a great deal of 
labour; but would not, I fear, be fo fatisfaflory to the reader. When we fee 
a referential mark in the text of a work, we are glad to find the reference as 
readily as poffible ; and naturally look for it on the fame page. I am 
therefore apt to think, that moft readers will be pleafed with a diftribu- 
tion that fpares them the trouble of conftantly turning to the end of a vo- 
lume, to feek in a large field of critical difculTion, what they wifh to {ee 
at one glance. 

Few are capable of weighing tlie motives and examining the foundations 
on which a correftion of the prefent text has been made ; or why fuch a 
reading has been preferred by the translator to fuch another reading : but 
almoft all are capable of underftanding, and have a right to know, that 
fuch a corredion, and fuch a reading, are made on fuch and fuch autho- 

Such, at leaft, is the light I view things in ; by putting myfelf in the 
fituation of thofe who are not acquainted with the learned languages; 
but who yet make a ferious ftudy of the Scriptures, and are defirous 
of knowing the real flate m which they have been handed down to us. 

Let me, once more, intreat thofe gentlemen who have by them any 
remarks on panicular palTages (which they mean not, diemfelves, to pub- 
li(h) to be fo kind as to communicate them. They Ihall be thankfully 
received, and fairly acknowledged. 


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